Ireland Women Sevens competed in the opening round of the 2019 World Rugby Sevens Series in Glendale USA over the weekend. Despite only winning two games the tournament will be regarded as a success following a sixth place finish, which equals their highest placing since 2012.

Ireland were placed in a difficult group alongside France, Canada and Fiji. Fortunately the Fiji side, who can blow hot and cold ,were having an off day and a huge win by Ireland in their final match against the Fijians saw the Irish side progress to the Cup quarter Finals adss one of the highest placed third teams in the pools.

Ireland Women Day 1 Pool Stage Results

France 21 – 12 Ireland 

Aoife Doyle opened the scoring for Ireland after France had raced to a 14 – 0 lead. Lucy mulhall converted to take the score to 14 – 7 at the break.

France pulled further in front at the start of the second half before Hannah Tyrrell pulled one back for Ireland with their final play.

Players used: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Fitzhenry, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

Canada 24 – 12 Ireland 

Canada race to a fourteen point lead with two converted tries in the first three minutes.

However Stacey Flood and Lucy Mulhall replied, with Mulhall converting one, to take the score to 14 – 12 at half time . Canada responded with two second half tries to take control of the game.

Players used: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Claire Boles, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Fitzhenry, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

Ashleigh Baxter

Fiji 7 – 59 Ireland 

Ireland rampaged to a 35 point lead at half time with tries from Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter (2), Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe and Even Higgins, with Lucy Mulhall converting all five.

Despite Fiji pulling one back in the second half the Ireland onslaught continued with Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Heffernan and Stacey Flood all crossing. Mulhall converting two.

Players used: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Claire Boles, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Fitzhenry, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

The results saw Ireland progress to Day 2 in the last eight of the Cup Competition by virtue of their impressive points scored.

Ireland Women Day 2 Play Off Results

Eve Higgins

Cup Quarter Final: New Zealand 34 – 7 Ireland.

New zealand raced to a 24 – 0 lead at half time scoring four unanswered tries and converting two.

A Michaela Blyde brace wrapped up the game in the second half with Eve higgins responding for Ireland.

Players used: Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Claire Boles, Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Fitzhenry, Katie Heffernan, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe

5th Place Semi Final: Ireland 21 – 10 Russia.

Russia took an early lead before an Aoife Doyle try, converted by Lucy Mulhall, gave Ireland a 7 – 5 lead at the break.

The Russians again took the lead at the start of the second half before Eve Higgins crossed and Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe wapped the game up for Ireland.

Players used: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Eve Higgins, Katie Fitzhenry, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

5th Place Final: Ireland 19 – 21 Australia. 

Australia took a 14 – o lead thanks to two converted tries before Aoife Doyle and Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird crossed for Ireland. Lucy Mulhall converted one to make it 14 – 12 at half time.

Ireland took the lead thanks to a converted try from Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe before Australia broke their hearts with a late score to take the game 19 – 21.

Players used: Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, Eve Higgins, Katie Fitzhenry, Lucy Mulhall, Stacey Flood.

The success or otherwise of these World Rugby Sevens Series competitions are decided on fine margins and a fair bit of luck, but on the whole this was a solid enough start to their campaign and I’m sure it was pink gins all round for the management team who have hit their low performance target in Series 1 of their new five year performance plan!

However, if they had faced a competitive Fiji on Day 1 and not rattled up the points in that game, it would have been a bottom four finish. In fairness though, the win against Russia and their competitive final against Australia, in Day 2, does point to a positive step in the right direction.

Next up is the Dubai Rugby 7’s on 29th – 30 November 2018.

 

 

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