Ireland Sevens team earns place at Tokyo Olympics with victory over France – .

Ireland Sevens team earns place at Tokyo Olympics with victory over France – .

The Irish men’s rugby sevens team achieved a historic qualification for the Tokyo Olympics by beating France in the rugby world repechage final in Monaco.

Jordon Conroy’s electric test series sparked an Irish comeback from five behind at halftime to a nine-point victory that sealed 12th and final place at the Games.

“Words can’t describe it. It’s just weird, ”said emotional captain Billy Dardis. “You have dreamed of doing something really special all your life and what we have been doing for just over a number of years is amazing. “

This is a milestone for the game in Ireland and for a team that started in the lower tier of European Sevens Rugby just six years ago.

Terry Kennedy slipped into the French blindside to come off unscathed for an Irish first try, Dardis adding the sideline conversion for a perfect start.

Ireland were stranded as the relentless French sought to get on the board and their defense was ultimately shattered by Stephen Parez’s side step, with Jean-Pascal Barraque leveling with the conversion.

Catastrophe struck from the restart as France immediately added another try; Remi Siega claiming the kick-off and unloading for Paulin Riva to score. Captain Barraque missed the conversion to leave the score at 12-7 halfway through the 14-minute match.

Ireland needed inspiration and they found it with the tournament’s top try scorer, Jordan Conroy. Kennedy recovered possession and Conroy recovered the loose ball inside the Irish half, bypassed two potential tackles and ran between another pair of Blues to score. Dardis added the extras for a two point advantage.

Conroy put Ireland on the brink of qualifying with another try, after a change game involving Adam Leavy and Kennedy, with Dardis nailing another kick over the sideline for a 21-12 lead.

As France desperately searched for a way back into the game, a tackle from Dardis forced a loose pass, which Harry McNulty picked up to score, Dardis extending his perfect record from the boot.

Terry Bouhraoua’s astonishing field-length try in the final seconds was no consolation, the France try-record holder in tears as he touched under the posts.

Earlier in the day, Ireland led their group with a 21-7 victory over Samoa which included an incredible offload from Kennedy’s rear to put Conroy in the corner.

Jack Kelly (Université de Dublin), Harry McNulty (LA Giltinis), Foster Horan (Lansdowne), Billy Dardis (Terenure College), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers), Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s College), Greg O’Shea (Shannon RFC).

Adam Leavy (Lansdowne), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne), Hugo Lennox (Skerries), Sean Cribbin (Suttonians), Aaron Sexton (Malone/Ulster).


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