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Ireland edged by England in thriller on disappointing day in Dubai

Anthony Eddy’s side finished the women’s tournament in eighth place, but ran England and France close along the way.

IRELAND ENDED THE Dubai leg of the Sevens World Series in eighth place after their campaign ended with a 17-5 defeat against France.

After impressive pool form was rounded off by a battling performance in a one-score loss to New Zealand yesterday, Anthony Eddy’s side faced a tough quarter-final task in the shape of Canada.

IMG_9146 Eve Higgins searches for a gap against Canada. Source: Sam O'Byrne

Last year’s fourth-place finishers in the Series, Canada roared out of the traps, building a 19-0 lead by half-time thanks to Kalli Lukan and a brace from Bianca Farella.

Louise Galvin ran in a try midway through the second period, but there was no stopping the Canuck march – they would end the day in the Cup final against New Zealand – and Pam Buisa rounded off the scoring to complete a 24-7 win for the North Americans.

England were next up for Ireland after Australia took revenge for yesterday’s pool defeat at the quarter-final stage.

screenshot.1543574024.97468 Ireland on the attack against England. Source: Sam O'Byrne

Again, Ireland were undone early on by the Red Roses with Holly Atchison creating and scoring tries before Ireland rallied back through the power of Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe to turn the contest into a thriller. The Tipperary woman came close to creating a score for Galvin, but the former Kerry footballer was thwarted by a superb Deborah Fleming tackle. 

The shut-out was short-lived for England, however, as Hannah Tyrell stepped through the defensive line to put Ireland’s women on the board.

Lucy Mulhall couldn’t nail the conversion, but she did make the score-line finely balanced at 12-10 on the stroke of half-time, finishing off a brilliant move ignited by Tyrell and Eve Higgins.

Tyrell found herself in the sin-bin early in the second half, but Ireland took the lead none-the-less, Murphy Crowe breaking through to earn a short-handed lead. The lead was brief though, as Ellie Kildunne broke to level the match up at 17-17. And it was Kildunne who broke Ireland a second time, bursting the defensive line to snatch a late 22-17 victory.


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IMG_9743 Derbhile Nic A Bhaird scores Ireland's only try against France. Source: Sam O'Byrne

In the seventh-place play-off, Ireland met an experience French outfit who showed their mettle by withstanding an exhausting three-minute period of attacking possession from Ireland.

With solid tackles and relentless competitive breakdown work, France denied Ireland from advancing to within 10 metres and won a turnover after forcing Mulhall into a speculative kick.

Les Bleus quickly broke clear after taking possession, Shannon Izar instrumental in the break that led to Camille Grassineau’s try to put the half-time scoreline at 5-0.

Ireland began the second half strong too and France’s breakdown earned an early yellow card, from which Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird capitalised to level the tie.

However, France still had gears to reach for and the brilliant Izar proved the decisive playmaker again as Carla Neisen made for the right corner after a patient set of possession phases and Anna Cecil Ciofani rounded off the scoring to make it 17-5 at the finish.

Ireland’s men are also in action at the Dubai 7s, they opened their International Invitational campaign with a dominant 45-0 win over Russia before beating Czech side ASC Dukla 36-5. They will round off their pool phase against a France development side this afternoon.

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud


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Sean Farrell

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