Dublin Adult Football League Division Two Round-Up (July 18): Dublingaa.ie – July 20 2018

AFL DIV. 2 ROUNDUP – 18TH JULY

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: JULY 18

By Daire Walsh

Fingallians moved to the summit of the Adult Football League Division Two table with a 2-16 to 2-10 victory over rivals Fingal Ravens at Lawless Park on Wednesday night.

With previous divisional pace-setters Templeogue Synge Street suffering a 0-15 to 3-12 reversal at the hands Scoil Ui Chonaill on the Clontarf Road, the Swords men are now a point in front of the southsiders.

They will face each other on Saturday week (July 28) in a Round 12 encounter at Dolphin Park, which could go a long way towards determining who finishes in pole position at the end of this hotly-contested second-tier competition. Though they had a number of points to spare over Ravens in the end, there had been little to separate the sides for the vast majority of the contest.

Courtesy of a well-constructed Patsy O’Neill goal, Fingallians led 1-9 to 2-2 at the midway stage. Danny Campion and Derek Rodgers led by example throughout the opening period and continued to drive the hosts forward on the resumption.

Despite being short a number of first-team regulars – most notably veteran Dublin footballer Paul Flynn – Fingallians made considerable waves in attack. TJ Howard raised a green flag to bring his final tally up to 1-6 and Shane Howard also posted three points over the course of the hour.

A resilient Ravens managed to cut the gap to a single point on the stroke of 50 minutes, raising the possibility of a surprise triumph for the Rolestown side. However, the home team ultimately produced a powerful final-quarter rally to claim a sixth consecutive Division Two success.

Skerries have been in the hunt for promotion for much of the season – and though they remain in contention, they suffered a fifth defeat in seven at home to St Mary’s, Saggart (5-14 to 2-9).

Following their own 3-13 to 0-8 win over St Anne’s at Monastery Road, Round Tower Clondalkin have moved up to third in the table – only two points adrift of Fingallians.

After registering a brace of goals in the same venue against Whitehall three days earlier, Micheal Walsh also rattled the net for an in-form Towers. With former county stars Derek Murray and Ian Ward delivering impressive displays, they led 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval.

The forceful play of midfielder Conor Flannery also aided the home team’s cause, as they sought a seventh league victory of 2018. Jason Joyce joined Walsh in securing a third major in the space of two games, while netminder Gary Cleary kick-started a fast-paced move that eventually led to a goal from marauding corner-back Niall Byrne.

Towers are now gathering pace ahead of their trip to Glenauline Park and St Patrick’s, Palmerstown on July 28. Pat’s, on the other hand, lifted themselves away from danger with a narrow 2-10 to 1-11 triumph against Raheny at St Anne’s Park.

In the same venue on Wednesday, Ballyboughal had the measure of Clontarf in a high-scoring affair (1-18 to 0-15). They lie fifth in the table – just behind Skerries on score difference.

Whitehall enjoyed a commanding 3-21 to 0-9 win over Naomh Mearnog at Collins Avenue, and at nearby Blunden Drive, O’Toole’s picked up their first point of the present campaign by sharing the spoils with Na Fianna ‘B’ – 2-12 to 1-15 the final score.

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Men’s Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Billy Dardis – The Kildare Nationalist (Online) – July 20 2018

DARDIS READY TO EMBRACE WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE

CAPTAINING your country at a World Cup can be a daunting task at the very best of times, but for Naas native Billy Dardis, it is something that he is prepared to embrace with open arms.

When Ireland take on Chile at AT & T Park later today in a Pre-Round of 16 encounter at the Men’s Sevens World Cup (3.35pm local time/11.35pm Irish time), it is the former Leinster Academy star who will lead Anthony Eddy’s charges into battle.

Despite having previous experience at schools rugby level with Newbridge College and Terenure College, Dardis had never captained an Irish side at any grade. Though he doesn’t consider himself to be the most vocal of players, his desire to lead by example has helped him along the way.

“I captained Junior Cup [Newbridge] and Senior Cup [Terenure] teams a little bit. In terms of representative honours, it was the first captaincy I got. I was real nervous before I got told. Obviously when I got told, it was unreal,” Dardis remarked at last week’s squad announcement on Dublin’s Henry Street.

“I was delighted with it. It’s just a nice honour to have. Since then, it has just been about how I can do it to my best and lead the lads to the best of my ability. One of my things would be just the unseen things. I’m not the biggest person in the world, I’m not the biggest, loudest person. Going into a World Cup is, I suppose, real special.”

While a number of players have drifted away from the squad in recent seasons, there has been a sense of continuity to the squad in the lead-up to the tournament. This has helped to build unity within the camp, even though there are still some defections within the system.

“This year we’ve had a core group. It has been about 12 or 15 of us that have trained throughout the whole year and gone to a lot of the tournaments. We’ve had a good few lads come in, have a shot at it.

“They might not have gone well, but other lads have come in and made a big impact, and they’ve stayed part of it. There is a core group, but it’s kind of changing the whole time.”

After he was released by Leinster last summer without a senior appearance to his name, the then 22-year-old was at something of a crossroads in his career.

Although he had a number of options available to him, his previous exposure to Sevens made it a “no-brainer” for Dardis to get involved in the code on a more permanent basis.

“The IRFU have always been good to me and I’ve been part of loads of 18s, 19s, 20s set-ups and I knew a lot of people and spoke to a lot of people. They gave me good advice and they were just like ‘yeah, go for it.’

“I’d spent four years in the [Leinster] Academy, hadn’t got a cap. I was kind of banging my head against the wall and I was like ‘I need something to refresh my mind’. They put forward to us what the plan was for the season. The potential to push on into a World Series was just really exciting.”

Indeed, despite his ambitions to one day return to 15s on a professional basis, the UCD club man’s sole focus is on establishing Ireland as a top-tier nation on the Sevens circuit.

“In my head, I’m still an 18 year old kid and my dream is to play for Ireland, obviously. Whether this is a stepping stone or what I do for the next five, ten years, I don’t really know yet. At the moment it is what I’m focusing on.

“There’s no point in trying to half-ass a few different things. You’re better off just focusing on one thing. If I get an offer, I’d consider it, but at the moment [Sevens] is what I’m focusing on.”

Should Ireland get the better of Chile, they will then advance to face South Africa in a Round of 16 affair in the home of the San Francisco Giants.

However, as he recalls the meeting of the two sides at last year’s Octoberfest, he realises the South Americans are not to be taken for granted.

“It was a tough game, we played them third game on a Saturday evening. It was just intense. They’ve a few big ball carriers and a lot of pace as well. Little small speedy fellas, but they’ve changed a lot since then.

“They’re a good side. We won’t be able to look past them at all. Some people are saying ‘you’ll get a shot at playing whoever after them’, but I think we’ll just have to focus on that. They’re going to be a big challenge,” Dardis added.

By Daire Walsh
Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Men’s Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Billy Dardis – The Kildare Nationalist (Online) – July 20 2018

Men’s Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Billy Dardis – Irishrugby.ie – July 20 2018

Dardis Expects ‘Big Challenge’ From Chile In Sevens World Cup Opener

“I captained Junior Cup (Newbridge) and Senior Cup (Terenure) teams a little bit. In terms of representative honours, it was the first captaincy I got. I was really nervous before I got told. Obviously when I got told, it was unreal,” explained Dardis, speaking at last week’s Ireland World Cup squad announcement on the Henry Street store of team sponsors, Intersport Elverys.

“I was delighted with it. It’s just a nice honour to have. Since then, it has just been about how I can do it to my best and lead the lads to the best of my ability. One of my things would be just the unseen things. I’m not the biggest person in the world, I’m not the biggest, loudest person. Just little things would be kind of my thing. Going into a World Cup is, I suppose, really special.”

As the Ireland men have risen up the European and global rankings, a strong spine of players and depth has been established in the IRFU Men’s Sevens Programme. But nobody is getting too comfortable in camp as competition for places, including Dardis’ out-half position, has been fierce.

“This year we’ve had a core group (of players). It has been about 12 or 15 of us that have trained throughout the whole year and gone to a lot of the tournaments (across the season). We’ve had a good few lads come in, have a shot at it.

“They might not have gone well, but other lads have come in and made a big impact and they’ve stayed part of it. There is a core group, but it’s kinda changing the whole time.”

After he was released by Leinster last summer without a senior appearance to his name, the then 22-year-old was at something of a crossroads in his career. Although he had a number of options available to him, his previous exposure to Sevens made it a ‘no-brainer’ for Dardis to get involved in the code on a more permanent basis.

He explained: “The IRFU have always been good to me and I’ve been part of loads of 18s, 19s, 20s set-ups and I knew a lot of people and spoke to a lot of people. They gave me good advice and they were just like, ‘yeah, go for it.’

“I’d spent four years in the (Leinster) Academy, hadn’t got a cap. I was kind of banging my head against the wall and I was like, ‘I need something to refresh my mind’. They (the Ireland Sevens coaches) put forward to us what the plan was for the season. It was all these different trips and all these different tournaments. The potential to push on into a World Series was just really exciting.”

Indeed, despite his ambitions to one day return to 15s on a professional basis (he continues to ply his trade at Ulster Bank League level with UCD), his sole focus is on establishing Ireland as a top-tier nation on the World Sevens circuit.

“In my head, I’m still an 18-year-old kid and my dream is to play for Ireland, obviously. Whether this is a stepping stone or what I do for the next five, ten years, I don’t really know yet. At the moment it is what I’m focusing on,” he continued.

“There’s no point in trying to half-ass a few different things. You’re better off just focusing on one thing. If I get an offer, I’d consider it, but at the moment (Sevens) is what I’m focusing on.”

Should Ireland get the better of Chile, they will then advance to face World Series champions South Africa in a a round of 16 clash in the home of the San Francisco Giants. However, as he recalls the meeting of the two sides at last year’s Oktoberfest, he agrees that the South Americans are not to be taken for granted.

“It was a tough game, we played them third game on a Saturday evening. It was just intense. They’ve a few big ball carriers and a lot of pace as well. Little small speedy fellas, but they’ve changed a lot since then. We saw them playing in the South American 7s, when we went down to Chile and Uruguay in January. They did very well down there.

“They were unlucky to miss out on the top spot. They’re a good side. We won’t be able to look past them at all. Some people are saying, ‘you’ll get a shot at playing whoever after them’, but I think we’ll just have to focus on that. They’re going to be a big challenge.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Men’s Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Billy Dardis – Irishrugby.ie – July 20 2018

Women’s Rugby Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Lucy Mulhall – Irishrugby.ie – July 20 2018

Mulhall: I’ve Grown As A Captain And So Has The Team

It was actually Mulhall’s exploits on the GAA field that convinced IRFU Seven coach Stan McDowell,who remains a pivotal figure within the Ireland Sevens set-up, to offer her a trial at the Amsterdam Sevens tournament in 2015.

The 24-year-old admits it was a big decision to move away from a sport that she feels so passionately about – she was an All-Ireland Junior title winner with Wicklow all of seven years ago – and it would not have been possible without the support of those closest to her.

“Some of my best friends and probably lifelong friends and, nearly family, are in the GAA. My whole family are very passionate about the GAA and our local club. I saw it as an opportunity. I had so much support from everyone around me at home.

“They made it really easy. They’ve supported me all along the way. Some of them have even come abroad to watch me play. They’re kinda what made it easy. I don’t think it would have been a decision I could have made without the support of them.

“I kinda just took the chance. I love the idea of the sport. Sevens rugby is just a really honest sport, where you’ve got seven people and if you’re not working hard, the system falls apart. So you need all seven.”

In comparison to where the game may have been when she first signed up to the national programme, there appears to be a genuine buzz surrounding Sevens right now in Ireland. Mulhall believes the success of the sport in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has helped in this regard, and she hopes Ireland can carry it forward on American soil this weekend.

“I definitely think so. More people in the country are finding out what this sport is about. I think around the world that was helped through the Olympics. Even for the country ourselves, especially say when the boys did so well on the World Series there last month. That brought such a buzz around the country. I think people are definitely tuning into Sevens and watching it more.”

While guiding Ireland to success in the Sevens World Cup and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series remains highest on her list of priorities, the proud Rathdrum clubwoman has not ruled out the possibility of one day representing the Ireland 15s side in the Six Nations Championship.

“I’d definitely like to learn the game of 15s. I’ve a long way to go because it’s such a different game, the tactics of it,” admitted Mulhall. “I’d have to study the game a lot and that’s something that I’d love to try. If I had the time to do it and then was able to get to a level where I was able to represent my country that would be amazing.”

Posted in Women's Rugby | Comments Off on Women’s Rugby Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Lucy Mulhall – Irishrugby.ie – July 20 2018

Dublin Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (July 18): Dublingaa.ie – July 20 2018

AFL DIV. 1 ROUNDUP – 18TH JULY

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE ROUND-UP: JULY 18

By Daire Walsh

St Vincent’s held onto top spot in the Adult Football League Division One table with a hard-earned 0-17 to 2-8 victory over Naomh Olaf at Pairc Ui Bhriain on Wednesday evening.

The Marino men dropped points for just the second time this season against neighbours Na Fianna last Sunday – a 1-15 to 2-12 draw on home soil following a previous defeat to Ballyboden St Enda’s on June 13. They were facing an Olaf’s that came into round 11 on the back of five consecutive reversals, leaving them second-from-bottom in the top-tier.

The Sandyford outfit last tasted success in an away clash with Ballymun Kickhams at the end of May. Points from Adam Baxter, Enda Varley and Tomas Quinn allowed Vins to create early breathing space, before Dublin U20 attacker Tom King forced Olaf’s into the reckoning with a well-taken goal.

Though they led by the bare minimum at the break, Vins remained in the ascendancy after the restart thanks to strong scoring contributions from Varley, Cian O’Brien and Adam Giblin. However, with Dublin senior panellist David Byrne driving them forward, Olaf’s secured their second goal of the proceedings.

This set the game up for a grandstand finale, only for Vins to regain control with the help of some outstanding defensive work by Jarlath Curley and substitute James McCusker. Quinn was also on hand to convert a series of frees in the closing moments – ensuring the northsiders extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Kilmacud Crokes currently lead the chasing pack, after they recorded a comprehensive 4-14 to 3-9 triumph at the expense of St Sylvester’s at Silver Park. Both sides had been in action last Friday – against Ballinteer St John’s and Ballymun respectively – meaning they had an extended period to prepare for the challenge that lay ahead.

Cian O’Connor has been in fine form for Crokes throughout the present campaign and he finished the night with an impressive haul of 1-5 to his name. While Syls played with the same attacking edge that helped to overcome the challenge of Ballymun, their Stillorgan counterparts continued to pick off scores as the play developed.

Courtesy of additional three-pointers from Mark Vaughan, dual player Bill O’Carroll and teenage star Jonathan Quinlan, Crokes claimed their eighth league win of 2018 in clinical style.

They are two points adrift of Vincent’s with just four matches remaining, but third-place Ballyboden St Enda’s are also expected to have a considerable say in the direction of the Division One trophy.

On a bright summer evening at Pairc Ui Murchu, Anthony Rainbow’s charges were commanding 3-17 to 0-13 victors over St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh. Ahead of their visit to Somerton Park on Saturday week for a night-time encounter with Castleknock, ‘Boden find themselves a single point behind defending champions Crokes.

Meanwhile, Na Fianna returned to winning ways at home to Ballinteer St John’s – which consequently helps them to remain in fourth spot. Michael Deegan and Sky Blues underage star James Doran found the net for the Glasnevin side – who were searching for their first triumph in four outings.

Goals from David Devereux and Aodhan Clabby offered hope to their opponents, but Na Fianna eventually finished with seven points to spare (2-19 to 2-12).

Maur’s made it four wins on the bounce by defeating Lucan Sarsfields on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-13 in Rush. With Ciaran Archer leading the way in front, Maur’s brought a 0-9 to 0-7 cushion into the interval.

Two second half goals – including one from Danny Byrne – placed the hosts in the driving seat, before Lucan rallied to set-up an exciting conclusion.

Maur’s held firm to claim maximum points, though, and are now just behind Na Fianna on score difference.

Elsewhere, Thomas Davis got the better of St Jude’s (1-15 to 2-7) and Ballymun Kickhams enjoyed a home success over Cuala – 0-14 to 1-7.

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Dublin Adult Football League Division One Round-Up (July 18): Dublingaa.ie – July 20 2018

Dublin Adult Football League Division One: St Brigid’s V Castleknock – Dublingaa.ie – July 19 2018

AFL DIV. 1 MATCH REPORT: ST. BRIGIDS V CASTLENOCK

ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE

ST BRIGID’S 1-10

CASTLEKNOCK 0-10

By Daire Walsh

Lorcan McCarthy was in devastating form at Russell Park last night as St Brigid’s claimed local bragging rights over a spirited Castleknock in Division One of the Adult Football League.

Though there was little to separate the teams initially, McCarthy’s 14th-minute was the catalyst for Brigid’s to enter the interval with a six-point cushion (1-8 to 0-5) at their disposal. It has been a difficult campaign to date for Castleknock, who began the evening rooted to the bottom of the top-tier table.

They can take encouragement from a much-improved second half display, when midfielder Shane Boland’s dead-ball accuracy offered them a fighting chance of success. However, Kevin Bonner’s hosts ultimately dug deep to secure a hard-earned triumph – their fifth of the 2018 league season.

While Brigid’s had recorded three wins on the bounce prior to their narrow defeat at the hands of St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh last weekend, Castleknock had just one win from their previous seven encounters.

This came against Cuala on June 13, but resulting reversals to southside duo Thomas Davis and St Jude’s has left them with a lot of ground to make up in the closing weeks of the current campaign.

They deployed Peter Sherry as a sweeper in a bid to curb the attacking influence of their neighbours – and it proved to be an effective tactic during the first-quarter. After Brigid’s half-forward Cathal Doyle opened the scoring early on, his opposite number – Paul Burke – responded at the far end.

Indeed, following a series of missed opportunities by their opponents, full-forward Tommy Corcoran edged Castleknock in front with a sweet point off his left-foot. Collie Carr and McCarthy were also off-target as the action progressed, before Brigid’s finally moved into the ascendancy in the 14th-minute.

Though an effort on goal dropped well short of the posts, a lax clearance from Morven Connolly presented the alert Carr with a gilt-edged chance. His subsequent strike was superbly turned away by the Castleknock netminder, only for McCarthy to slot home the rebound.

This was a major set-back for ‘Knock – who had appeared comfortable in defence up to that point. McCarthy, on the other hand, grew in confidence as a result.

He registered a brace of scores either side of a Carr point off a tight-angle, creating significant daylight between the teams in the process. In the absence of county star Paddy Andrews, he acted as the focal point of a hight-functioning forward line.

He was ably-assisted by the midfield pairing of Laois footballer John O’Loughlin and former Dublin hurler Daire Plunkett – as well as the ever-industrious Carr and Barra O Coilean.

O’Loughlin was an influential figure for Laois in their journey to this year’s Leinster SFC decider and finished off a patient move on 27 minutes to supplement McCarthy’s additional 0-3 salvo.

Although they were struggling to contain a rampant Brigid’s outfit, Castleknock did regain focus before the break. After Boland ended a 19-minute scoring drought with a pointed free, centre-back Tom Shields split the uprights at the end of a lung-bursting run.

Boland’s second of the half in stoppage-time provided ‘Knock with further cause for optimism, though it was McCarthy and Brigid’s who drew fist blood on the resumption. They then had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed on the stroke of 40 minutes, when McCarthy picked out raiding half-back Patrick Maguire in front of goal.

However, much to Castleknock’s relief, his fierce drive crashed off the underside of the crossbar and away to safety. This kept the visitors in the frame, and they slowly – but surely – cut into the Brigid’s lead.

A triple half-time substitution – Darren O’Connor, Sean Gibbons and Michael Galvin replaced the half-forward line of Niall Millmore, Jamie Tunney and Paul Burke – gave them a new lease of life and they halted the Brigid’s momentum with a succession of turnovers in the middle-third.

A Boland free was preceded by an O’Connor contribution from play, leaving five points between the sides heading into the final-quarter. Brigid’s continued to create a number of chancedl, but it was the right boot of Boland that enjoyed the greater success rate.

He raised white flags in the 51st and 55th minutes to set-up a tantalising finale. Brigid’s lost centre-forward Mark Cahill to a black card on the hour mark and almost immediately conceded a 10th point to Boland – his sixth of the proceedings.

Brigid’s held their nerve, though, and McCarthy ended a lengthy barren spell for his side with an insurance point deep into injury-time.

Results elsewhere on the night lifts the victors up to sixth place, while Castleknock remain a point adrift of second-from-bottom Naomh Olaf with a game still in hand.

Scorers – St Brigid’s: Lorcan McCarthy 1-7 (0-3f), John O’Loughlin, Cathal Doyle, Collie Carr 0-1. Castleknock: Shane Boland 0-6 (5f), Tom Shiels, Paul Burke, Tommy Corcoran, Darren O’Connor 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID’S: Stephen Moore; Alan Daly, Gavin Kane, Fiachra O’Meara; Sean Egan, Niall Davey, Patrick Maguire; Daire Plunkett, John O’Loughlin; Mark Donnelly, Mark Cahill, Cathal Doyle; Barra O Coilean, Lorcan McCarthy, Collie Carr. Subs: Cian McCarthy for Donnelly (48), Donnelly for Carr (55), Carr for Cahill (60).

CASTLEKNOCK: Morven Connolly; Graham Hannigan, Tom Quinn, Colm Neville; Rob Shaw, Tom Shields, Greg Gibbons; James Sherry, Shane Boland; Niall Millmore, Jamie Tunney, Paul Burke; Peter Sherry, Tommy Corcoran, Kevin Kindlon. Subs: Darren O’Connor for Millmore, Sean Gibbons for Tunney, Michael Galvin for Burke (all half-time), Kevin Stevenson for Corcoran (44).

Referee: James King (Garda/Westmanstown Gaels).

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Women’s Rugby Sevens World Cup Squad Announcement: Ashleigh Baxter – Irishrugby.ie – July 18 2018

Baxter ‘Buzzing’ For Her Fourth World Cup Tournament

Baxter is the sole survivor from the squad that travelled to Russia five years ago, with the 2013 line-up including a host of star names who enjoyed Grand Slam success three months previously. Jenny Murphy, Claire Molloy, Sophie Spence, Larissa Muldoon, Lynne Cantwell and Alison Millerhelped Ireland qualify for the Cup quarter-final which they lost to the USA.

Although players continue to switch between both codes, Baxter acknowledges the professionalism of Sevens has grown in the intervening years. “I think back then we had a lot of people who’d been around 15s and we had a good core group of 15s players back then that obviously just carried on training together for the Sevens.

“Now Sevens has become more professional, it has become its own game. It’s just a different group and hoping to do the same thing as before,” continued the Castlewellan native, who first played Tag rugby as a youngster and joined Belfast Harlequins aged 18.

Unlike their male counterparts, the Ireland Women have been a permanent fixture on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series circuit in recent seasons. This has given them the chance to regularly play the world’s elite teams, including England, their opponents on Friday in the round-of-16 encounter (kick-off 12.12pm local time/8.12pm Irish time) (live on eir Sport 1/www.worldrugby.org live streaming in certain countries/highlights on ITV 4).

Indeed, during last month’s Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series tournament in Marcoussis, Ireland gained a confidence-boosting 39-7 victory over England in the Bronze final, albeit that the English side was missing a number of their frontline players.

Alongside a brace of tries each from Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Eve Higgins, there were singles from Stacey Flood, Louise Galvin and Aoife Doyle as the Ireland Women claim their biggest ever win over England in either 15s or the Sevens code.

The foundations for that impressive triumph were largely based on Ireland’s excellent ball retention – something Baxter feels they will need to replicate if they are to prevail in Friday’s eagerly-awaited opening Rugby World Cup Sevens clash.

“I think it definitely taught us how important it is to retain possession. We had possession for the entire game. If we can keep possession again and win our restarts, I think we can definitely beat them. At the moment, all we’re thinking about is beating England in the first game. Obviously there’s no group stage. It’s knockout. That’s important for us, to get to the top-eight this weekend,” she added.

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Men’s Sevens Rugby World Cup Squad Announcement: Hugo Keenan – Irishrugby.ie – July 17 2018

Hugo Keenan Aiming To Hit The Ground Running At Sevens World Cup

“They’ve been two real highlights for us, those two World Series events. It was good a chance for us to showcase ourselves and play at the top level. They went very well and we’ve just been building after them in the Rugby Europe tournaments and looking nicely into the World Cup now.

“There was no real pressure on us. We were the 16th team, so we were just going out there to prove our point. We knew we were a good side and we just wanted to showcase that. It was about enjoying that. We’d worked hard during the season, so that was a nice sort of reward for us. To be able to put ourselves out there and get the medal at the end of it.”

While the Ulster Bank League is the sole port of call for the majority of Eddy’s 12-man World Cup squad, Keenan is one of four players under contract in the provincial system. After initially coming to prominence in the Ireland Under-20 side that reached the 2016 World Championship decider, the Leinster Academy member has had limited opportunities so far in the province’s senior set-up.

Two appearances off the bench against Zebre and Glasgow Warriors – almost 12 months apart – is the sum total of his senior 15s experience to date. This is in stark contrast to three of his former Ireland Under-20 team-mates, Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Porter and James Ryan, who all played significant roles in Ireland’s superb Grand Slam success in the spring.

Because of the demands that come with the Sevens game, Keenan has spent a large portion of time away from Leinster’s UCD base. Although he admits it can be difficult seeing young starlets like Jordan Larmour blossoming in his absence, he instead views his current situation as a potential springboard for 15s rugby.

“It is tough, but I think the Sevens develops you as well and you’ve seen the platform that it has given the likes of Barry Daly and Adam Byrne. How they’ve propelled themselves through the Sevens into Leinster,” he explained.

“It’s definitely a good platform to build yourself from. That’s sort of the way I see it. I feel it has improved me a good bit. Hopefully it will be beneficial for me for the 15s career.”

It was September 2016 that Keenan first became involved in the IRFU Sevens Programme, but it was not until last year that he made his competitive bow in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series. While he now has a firm grip on the all-encompassing nature of the game, he acknowledges there was an initial bedding-in period.

“The pace of the games, obviously it takes a while to get into it and to get that fitness level required. It’s also tough adapting to the systems of the Sevens. You’re constantly working in your pods of three, but it’s all about getting the game-time with the Sevens and the transition is natural enough.”

Whereas New Zealand are the team everyone seeks to emulate at 15s international level, it is Fiji who have traditionally set the benchmark for what can be achieved in the Sevens game. The Fijians had to settle for a third place finish at the 2013 World Cup (New Zealand were the overall winners), but they bounced back to win gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Keenan has faced the Fijians in previous tournaments where it has usually proven to be a steep learning curve for Ireland. Should the teams cross paths in San Francisco, the young Dubliner reckons they could get a lot closer than they have done in recent encounters.

“That’s a serious, serious challenge playing against them (Fiji). They’re incredible athletes. You feel you’ve been chasing shadows at times (when you play them) and their offloads are incredible, but I suppose they are beatable,” he acknowledged.

“We saw that in the last (World Series) leg in Paris when Kenya and England both beat them. I look forward to playing them again. I think we can definitely do better than our previous results (38-12 and 38-5 losses) against them this summer have shown.”

Ireland were ranked 16th for the Sevens World Cup and will face Chile in their opening fixture in San Francisco on Friday (kick-off 3.35pm local time/11.35pm Irish time) (live on eir Sport 1/www.worldrugby.org live streaming in certain countries/highlights on ITV 4). The winners will face World Series champions South Africa in the last 16, while the losers will move into the Bowl quarter-finals.
Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Men’s Sevens Rugby World Cup Squad Announcement: Hugo Keenan – Irishrugby.ie – July 17 2018

Gerry Reilly U16 Football Tournament Group B: Dublin V Down – The Evening Herald – July 17 2018

MOURNE BOYS HOLD ON

Goals prove key as Dublin suffer setback in Gerry Reilly U16 battle

GERRY REILLY U16 FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

DOWN……………………….3-9

DUBLIN……………………..1-13

Daire Walsh

ADAM Crimmins and Ronan Connor goals either side of half-time proved crucial on Saturday afternoon at Abbotstown, where Dublin fell to a narrow defeat against Down in the Gerry Reilly U16 Football Tournament.

Following an impressive victory over Kildare at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge three days earlier, this result certainly comes as a set-back for the Sky Blues.

While a final Group B game against Antrim on Saturday week keeps them in contention for the knock-out rounds, the Mourne men’s ability to pick off scores at vital junctures ultimately put paid to their chances of success in the National Games Development Centre.

DEADLOCK

Down kick-started their own campaign with a narrow triumph over the Saffrons (2-9 to 3-4) and they broke the deadlock courtesy of Joe O’Boyle’s well-worked point. Indeed, at the end of an enterprising move 12 minutes in, Dermot Donaldson fired to the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Dublin eventually found their feet with back-to-back efforts from Rogers and Luke Curran (son of the legendary Paul), before Connor converted a routine free at the opposite end.

There was a sense that Dublin were beginning to find their feet as the half developed, and unanswered scores by Rogers, Conor Tyrell, Adam Mulligan and Oliver Brooks helped them to hit the front on 25 minutes.

There was plenty of life left in the Down challenge, however, and Crimmins was on hand to palm home John McGovern’s pass from the subsequent attack. Even though Rogers cancelled out Paudraig Clancy’s first of the day, a Crimmins point ensured Down were three points ahead – 2-4 to 0-7 – at the midway stage.

Dublin were still well in the reckoning on home soil, but it was the visitors who carried momentum forward into the second period. Thanks to two scores in as many minutes by the dynamic duo of McGovern and Connor, they created further daylight between the teams.

After Ballyboden’s Ryan O’Dwyer was upended close to the posts, Rogers eased the Dublin concerns with a pointed free. Yet, on the stroke of 40 minutes, it was Down who appeared to hold all the aces.

Supplementing a Clancy single, Connor finished off a devastating counter-attack to move his side into a seemingly unassailable 3-7 to 0-8 advantage. This gap remained in place when Curran and McGovern traded points – though the St Catherine’s forward added to his personal tally on the three-quarter mark.

The Dublin bench was beginning to make an impact in humid conditions at the northside venue, as Fionn Duncan’s curled strike preceded a Rogers point in the 53rd-minute. Down remained firmly in the ascendancy when McGovern split the uprights on the run, only for Dublin to launch a final assault on their goal.

After Rogers’ sixth of the day narrowed the gap, Conroy (St Pat’s, Donabate) broke through the Down defence to secure a magnificent major. This raised the possibility of a ‘smash and grab’ for the Sky Blues, but they ran out of time in their bid to claim a second consecutive group stage win.

MATCH FILE

Scorers – Down: R Connor 1-2 (0-1f), A Crimmins 1-1, D Donaldson 1-0, J McGovern 0-3, P Clancy 0-2, J O’Boyle 0-1. Dublin: A Rogers 0-6 (2f), K Conroy 1-0, L Curran 0-3 (1f), A Mulligan, O Brooks, C Tyrell, F Duncan 0-1 each.

DOWN: M Croskery; C Laird, S Donegan, E Swail; T Savage, N Sloan, R Campbell; L Mallon, D Donaldson; MD Hynes, J O’Boyle, P Clancy; R Connor, A Crimmins, J McGovern. Subs: C Biilham for Sloan (26), J McCann for Savage (30+2), C McAvoy for Donaldson (36), J Cairns for Clancy, L Ruane for Connor (both 52), Donaldson for O’Boyle (56).

DUBLIN: J Casey; D Lynch, B Millist, E Gannon; L Byrne, K Conroy, D Robertson; L Murphy, A Mulligan; R O’Dwyer, A Rogers, D O’Dowd; L Curran, O Brooks, C Tyrell. Subs: F Duncan for Byrne (5), C Monaghan for Gannon (8), A Mezynski for Mulligan, D Fagan for Robertson (both 37), L Cullen for Brooks (52).

MENTORS – Down: Joe Tunney, Mark Poland, John Morgan, Kieran Mooney, Conor Fitzpatrick. Dublin: Mark Fee, Jim Lehane, Paul Casey.

Referee: Darragh Sheppard (Round Tower Lusk).

WIDES – Down: 3 (3+0). Dublin: 7 (2+5).

CONDITIONS: Dry and sunny throughout, but a strong breeze at times.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Alex Rogers (Dublin).

Posted in Gaelic Football | Comments Off on Gerry Reilly U16 Football Tournament Group B: Dublin V Down – The Evening Herald – July 17 2018

Women’s U17 National League Launch: Riona Crowley (Cork City WFC) – The Evening Echo – 16 July 2018

City all set for start of new U17 league

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Daire Walsh

RIONA CROWLEY admitted there is a mixture of nerves and excitement amongst the Cork City WFC ranks as they prepare to get their Women’s U17 National League campaign underway.

The Glanmire native was speaking at the launch of this competition which begins in earnest this weekend.

City will have to wait until Sunday week to make their bow in the league – when they play host to Munster rivals Limerick FC.

“Nervous, but excited. It’ll be a great honour to play against girls at such a great level. We start with Limerick at home, so close neighbours basically,” Crowley remarked at the FAI’s National Training Centre in Abbotstown.

“We’re not focusing on how they play. Just go out and play our best. If we had a win it would be a good start to the season and hopefully we’ll drive on from the first win.”

Unlike its senior equivalent, this underage competition will take on a two-group structure – with the top teams on each side playing off to determine the overall winner. The inaugural U17 season will be a shortened, before a full campaign gets up and running from March 2019 onwards.

Though it is expected to be a hectic few months for the Leesiders, Crowley believes it can offer a platform for players to push forward to the highest level of women’s soccer.

“Hopefully, international level even. To play as high as we can and get opportunities throughout the year.”

Given the youthful nature of the City first-team squad, the exploits of Crowley and her team-mates will not go unnoticed. Danielle Burke and Saoirse Noonan both played at senior level for Cork while also representing the Republic of Ireland U17s, and Crowley takes particular inspiration from the latter.

“Saoirse is a great idol to look at. Playing at international level and playing for Cork City. To look up to her is good and to have her at home is good.”

Indeed, according to FAI director of competitions Fran Gavin, it is the desire to keep the best Irish talent on home soil that has driven the association to introduce this new league.

“Talking to some of those [Irish] players, they wish they had an underage league like this when they were around. But it’s in place now. I think it’s great to see at international level that a lot of the squad members are coming from the national league,” Gavin explained.

“These girls, who are playing in this league, can see that happening right in front of them. They can see those players. They will be the next stars of the future for us and they’ll be in the international squads of the future.”

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Women’s U17 National League Launch: Riona Crowley (Cork City WFC) – The Evening Echo – 16 July 2018