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Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021

O'Mahony's Munster impress to advance to Limerick World Club 7s quarters

Coached by Colm McMahon, the southern province provided some memorable attacking moments.

Luke O'Dea's footwork was a constant threat for Munster's Pool C opponents.
Luke O'Dea's footwork was a constant threat for Munster's Pool C opponents.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MUNSTER ARE INTO the quarter-finals of the inaugural Limerick World Club 7s after topping their pool with an impressive three wins from three.

Coached by former Ireland Sevens international Colm McMahon, now an Elite Development Officer for the province, the southern province took to the seven-man code with some comfort at Thomond Park.

Led by Ronan O’Mahony, a youthful Munster group recorded wins over San Francisco, Moscow Saracens and Fijian outfit Daveta to end the day at the peak of Pool C.

McMahon’s men, who finished as second seeds overall, will face Daveta again in tomorrow’s quarter-finals. The only blot on a positive day for Munster was a knee injury to South African wing Gerhard van den Heever.

The elusive Luke O’Dea was among the players to stand out for the home side, with former Cork hurler Darren Sweetnam also impressing in attack. O’Mahony’s inspiring defensive efforts were backed up by some thrilling linebreaks, while academy fullback Stephen Fitzgerald showed glimpses of his rich promise.

However, it was the manner in which Munster adapted to the seven’s code which will have buoyed McMahon most ahead of a second meeting with Daveta. His side were patient in possession, striking clinically when chances arose. In defence, there was balance in how Munster pressed, drifted and dropped sweepers in behind the line to cover kicks.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was a notable face at the Limerick venue, part of a crowd of around 10,000 people. Those who turned up were treated to high-quality sevens rugby and delivered a rousing atmosphere that bodes well for the future of the code in Ireland.

inpho_00834658 Darren Sweetnam scored a brace against Daveta. Source: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Torrential rainfall threatened to cut the day short before the pool fixtures had been completed, but fortunately conditions improved as a patient crowd were rewarded with more excitement in the final games of the evening following a lengthy delay.

Tournament favourites Auckland emerged on top of Pool A following wins against New York and Saracens, while a physical Blue Bulls side also advanced from the same group. Carlin Isles provided several electric moments for the American outfit as they crept into the quarter-finals as one of the two best third-placed sides.

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Western Province improved over the course of their three fixtures to top Pool B, but it was the group’s runners-up, Vancouver Bears – featuring several Canadian 7s internationals – who stole the show and won over the crowd ahead of tomorrow’s action.

Joining Munster in moving on from Pool C and into the final eight are a threatening Moscow Saracens side and Daveta, who are sure to be better on day two.

Of further Irish interest was the inclusion of Lansdowne centre Mark Roche in the Munster squad for their final fixture of today’s pool action. The former Ireland U20 international will again play with the province tomorrow in place of van den Heever, while Roche’s clubmate Eoin Walsh has been added to the Saracens’ squad for their play-off matches.

Both players were drafted in from the ‘Combine Team’ of Irish amateur players.

Tomorrow’s cup quarter-finals:
  • Western Province v New York
  • Munster v Daveta
  • Blue Bulls v Vancouver
  • Auckland v Moscow

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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