Ireland set up massive Olympics qualifier semi-final against Russia
Niamh Briggs was injured in a rout of Tunisia in the quarter-finals.
Daire Walsh reports from UCD
IRELAND WILL FACE Russia in the Championship semi-final at the Women’s Global Sevens Qualification Tournament, following their commanding 38-point triumph over Tunisia in this morning’s quarter-final at UCD.
Ireland suffered a set-back in the opening minutes of the play – when Niamh Briggs injured her left knee after landing awkwardly on the Belfield surface.
Her place was taken by Ulster’s Ashleigh Baxter, and although the fitness of Briggs will be of concern to coach Anthony Eddy for their last-four encounter, he will have been pleased with the way his charges performed for the remainder of the half.
The hosts kept the Tunisian defence on the back foot for a prolonged period, and captain Lucy Mulhall ultimately broke free for a fourth-minute try.
The Wicklow native was on hand to add a successful conversion to her deadlock-breaking score, and she also supplied the bonus to Baxter’s five-pointer in the closing stages of the opening period.
This ensured that Ireland held a 14-0 interval advantage, and when Alison Miller crossed the whitewash from the first attack of the second-half, the outcome had effectively been placed beyond any doubt.
Nicole Cronin and substitute Stacey Flood also added their names to the scoresheet, and with Alison Miller completing the rout with her second try of the game (making her the team’s joint top try-scorer in the competition with Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe on six tries), they easily secured their place in the penultimate round with Russia – who progressed courtesy of a 34-0 victory against an overwhelmed Argentina.
Ireland Scorers:Tries: Lucy Mulhall, Ashleigh Baxter, Alison Miller (2), Nicole Cronin, Stacey Flood.
Conversions: Lucy Mulhall (3), Kim Flood.
IRELAND: Niamh Briggs, Megan Williams, Kim Flood, Nicole Cronin, Lucy Mulhall (Captain), Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.
Replacements: Audrey O’Flynn, Stacey Flood, Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Ashleigh Baxter, Aoife Doyle.
TUNISIA: Ines Souissi, Amal Dardouri, Houda Ben Abdeljelil, Radia Othmani (Captain), Ameni Gharbi, Saoussen Dellegai.
Replacements: Dhekra Khemili, Islem Abdallah, Amira Letaief, Fadwa Najeh.
Referee: Jessica Beard (New Zealand).