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Sensational second half sees Ireland Men's Sevens qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Ireland beat France 28-19 in the final of the Olympic qualification repechage.

greg-oshea-celebrates-with-adam-leavy-after-beating-france-and-qualifying-for-tokyo-2020 Source: Manuel Blondeau/INPHO

Ireland 28-19 France

IRELAND STAGED A sensational second-half comeback as they booked their ticket to Tokyo with victory in the final of the Olympic Sevens qualification repechage.

Trailing 12-7 at the break in Tokyo, two blistering tries from Jordan Conroy wrestled this game in Ireland’s favour before Harry McNulty put the icing on the cake late on.

The win sees Ireland clinch the 12th and final place in this summer’s tournament when the Olympic Games get underway next month.

France made for formidable opposition, conceding just 12 points across their four games en route to the final and comfortably dispatching Samoa in the semis.

But with Conroy and Terry Kennedy at their irrepressible best this weekend, Ireland knew that a historic Olympic ticket was very much within their grasp.

the-ireland-team-celebrate-qualifying-for-tokyo-2020 Source: Manuel Blondeau/INPHO

It was Ireland who struck first, Kennedy picking from the base of a ruck and cleverly wheeling away down the blindside for his ninth try of the weekend, which Billy Dardis converted for an early 7-0 lead.

But it was France who held the upper hand in terms of possession and territory for vast swathes of the first half, and they landed a sickening double blow to take the lead at the break.

After resilient Irish defence was penalised for a high tackle, France got a second bite at the cherry and made no mistake when Stephen Parez dotted down under the sticks.

And France pounced immediately with a brilliantly-executed restart, Antoine Zeghdar soaring through the air to claim possession before popping it off to Paulin Riva who made it 12-7 at the break.

With their Olympic dreams in the balance, Ireland kept their composure and it was Conroy who seized the opportunity, bobbing and weaving through the broken French line and racing clear to touch down under the posts for a 14-12 lead.

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Conroy gave Ireland a bit of breathing space when he scored his second of the game, and his 11th of the weekend, Dardis coolly adding the extras from the touchline to make it 21-12.

With two and a half minutes still left on the clock, there was still time for a sting in the French tail but as they tried to force their way back into the game, Dardis pounced on a loose pass and shipped it off to Harry McNulty who powered over to seal the victory.

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