Dis­ap­point­ing re­sults for Mul­hall’s Sev­ens side

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

THERE was no joy for Lucy Mul­hall and her Ire­land Women’s Sev­ens team af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing sec­ond day of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sev­ens Se­ries tour­na­ment in Dubai last week.

De­feats to even­tual run­ners-ups Canada (24-7), Eng­land (22-17) and France (17-5) saw them fin­ish eighth over­all in the com­pe­ti­tion that saw the Cross­bridge na­tive and Rath­drum RFC mem­ber pro­duce some magic mo­ments.

The lat­ter two matches could have gone ei­ther way for Mul­hall’s side, with Eng­land and France both scor­ing last-minute tries to deny the Ir­ish.

Nonethe­less, it is Ire­land’s sec­ond top-eight fin­ish of the sea­son and the tour­na­ment saw them record their best ever re­sults against Rus­sia (26-0 win) and even­tual cham­pi­ons New Zealand (24-17 loss).

In­deed, they were the only team to fin­ish within a con­verted score of the Black Ferns in Dubai. Brit­tany Ho­gan, the lat­est mem­ber of the IRFU Sev­ens Pro­gramme to make her se­ries de­but, played four games and scored a try, while fel­low 20-year-old Anna McGann also opened her se­ries ac­count and Amee-Leigh Mur­phy Crowe notched six tries, just one less than lead­ing scorers Michaela Blyde and Bianca Farella.

The Ire­land women picked up eight se­ries points for their ef­forts over the two days at the Sev­ens Sta­dium com­plex, leav­ing them sev­enth over­all with 16 points level with Eng­land - ahead of the third leg of the World Se­ries in Sydney in early Fe­bru­ary.

A poor start to their last-eight clash with Canada saw their op­po­nents cross af­ter just 40 sec­onds and things de­te­ri­o­rated rapidly as the Ir­ish fell 19-0 be­hind early in the sec­ond half

Things started to im­prove soon af­ter as Ire­land came more into the game.

Lucy Mul­hall’s clever in-and-out run and pass sent Louise Galvin over for a well-worked try, to­wards the left cor­ner. Mul­hall’s crisply-struck con­ver­sion closed the gap to 12 points.

Frus­trat­ingly for Ire­land, a cou­ple of penal­ties pinned them back close to their own 22, and Canada’s bench wrapped up the re­sult with Char­ity Wil­liams pro­vid­ing the as­sist for Pam Buisa’s try out wide in the fi­nal minute. In­ci­sive run­ning from Mul­hall and Ho­gan of­fered the hope of a late con­so­la­tion try, but Canada won the bat­tle of the breakdown to keep them out.

Another dis­as­trous start saw Ire­land fall be­hind early on in their fifth-eighth place play-off against Eng­land.

How­ever, they were much more clin­i­cal on the cusp of half-time as tries from Han­nah Tyrrell and for­mer Wick­low ladies star Mul­hall had Ire­land just 12-10 be­hind.

Nic a Bhaird forced a penalty at ruck time, and from the re­sult­ing li­ne­out, Mul­hall set up an op­por­tu­nity for Tyrrell to step off her left, swat a de­fender away and ground the ball to the left of the posts.

Tyrrell’s foot­work caused prob- lems for Eng­land again on the restart, the Dubliner also get­ting a pass away off the ground as Hig­gins man­aged to tie in two de­fend­ers and re­lease Mul­hall who out­paced He­lena Row­land to the try-line but was off-tar­get with her con­ver­sion to level the match.

Ref­eree Hol­lie Davidson’s de­ci­sion to sin bin Tyrrell for throw­ing the ball away be­fore an English li­ne­out had Ire­land un­der pres­sure early in the sec­ond half. Nonethe­less, they man­aged to hit the front in the 12th minute with a bout of hard-car­ry­ing over the gain-line, with Galvin and O’Flynn to the fore, and the lat­ter put Mur­phy Crowe in un­der the posts for her sixth try of the tour­na­ment.

Mul­hall con­verted to give her side a 17-12 ad­van­tage, but she dropped the restart short and Eng­land dug out a 22-17 win with pacy re­place­ment El­lie Kil­dunne tak­ing cen­tre stage. Mur­phy Crowe was pinged for a high tackle and Brown used the quick tap to send Kil­dunne sprint­ing in at the left cor­ner to level the game with two min­utes re­main­ing.

Ire­land then lost a li­ne­out in­side their 10-me­tre line, Eng­land us­ing the pos­ses­sion to at­tack out to the right where Kil­dunne man­aged to slip out of a tackle from Hig­gins and use her pace to score the de­ci­sive try, leav­ing Eddy’s charges to fight it out for sev­enth place with France, who were beaten 21-10 by Rus­sia.

Ire­land had al­most all of the early pos­ses­sion against France but would fall to a 17-5 de­feat at the end of a very dis­ap­point­ing day for the Ir­ish.

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