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'It's bittersweet' - Disappointing end but best-ever finish for Ireland at 'incredible' World Cup

A hugely successful weekend for Lucy Mulhall and her side Stateside.

THE CURTAIN CAME down on Ireland’s Sevens World Cup campaign in disappointing fashion — a last-gasp try meaning defeat to Spain — but all in all, it was a hugely successful weekend as they claimed their best-ever finish in San Francisco.

Ireland's Director of Sevens Anthony Eddy with Lucy Mulhall at the end of the match Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall with Anthony Eddy. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Anthony Eddy’s charges finished sixth overall after losing out to Spain in a hard-fought play-off, one in which the winners snatched at the death as they ran over a try past the final hooter to make it 12-7.

Tied 7-7 at half time after a try and conversion from Amaia Erbina and Patricia Garcia followed by the same at the other end courtesy of 19-year-old Eve Higgins and Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall, Spain piled on the pressure on the restart.

Ireland battled gamely but it must be said that the absence of attacking ace Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe through a hamstring injury and missed chances in the first half were felt strongly, and proved crucial in the end as Teresa Bueso Gonez broke Irish hearts.

“It’s bittersweet,” Wicklow native Mulhall said after, “but overall I think we had a really good weekend. I’m happy with how we performed.

“The last game probably left us a little bit wanting more and we definitely could have came away with a win, but at the same time we put some good performances together and worked really hard for each other.

“It’s tough to take. I think in the first half when you leave too many points behind, you kind of have that fear that you’re going to regret that come the end of the game and that’s just what happened.

Ireland’s Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe congratulated by Lucy Mulhall after she scored a try With Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

“They had the ball the whole second half so I think it was a really brave and gutsy performance to keep them out for the full seven minutes.

“I guess at the end when the try went in, I think it was one of those games that no matter who won, the opposition that lost was going to feel hard done by, or feel like they could have won that game because it was so tight.”

The World Cup may have ended in disappointment for the Girls in Green, but they’ll take plenty of pride from their run at AT&T Park, as they etched their names in history with an impressive top-six standing.

There was that famous opening win to dump England out of contention and book a quarter-final meeting with eventual champions New Zealand, as well as another huge victory over Russia, another team ranked higher than them in the World series.

“Incredible,” Mulhall reflected on the experience as a whole.

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“It’s definitely given us so much motivation to burst on and become a top four team. It was a really well run tournament, it was so nice having the boys out here as well. We just hope that we did Irish Sevens proud.”

Ireland's Lucy Mulhall In action against Spain. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

She added on the great Irish support, with fans really getting behind the sides with rounds of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Olé Olé’ being heard around the grounds:

“It was class. It was definitely like home advantage. I think the Irish more than anyone travel so well to support. Every single time we went out on the field you could hear so much roars for us. Standing in the tunnel next to the other team, I don’t know how that felt for them!

“It was unreal and it was such a good experience.”

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Emma Duffy

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