It was fitting that the finishing touch belonged to Terry Kennedy, as he pushed the ball into the stands as he finished off Ireland’s pulsating 19-14 victory over world champions, Australia, in the Sevens World Cup bronze medal match in Cape Town.
St Mary’s College delivered a phenomenal solo performance, scored one attempt, helped create another with an instinctive and cultured boot flick, and was at the center of his team’s best attacking moments in a game where the team twice came from behind to make it. Irish Rugby History.
Kennedy made a fitting headline for a stellar season on a personal level in which he finished as the series’ top scorer (50 in 52 games) and a member of the “Dream Team”, a selection that recognizes the seven best players from all nations in the ring. He’s now taken a year off the Sevens, but the 26-year-old will be back.
It wasn’t a one-man show, Harry McNulty – he scored the match-winning attempt – Jack Kelly and Chay Mullins also drew attention as did substitutes Mark Roach and Andrew Smith, but in truth, everyone contributed wonderfully from the moment Sean Crippen made the Ireland revival with a one-on-one experience. amazing.
Ireland captain Billy Dardis admitted: “It’s so surreal. We had some unforgettable days in the Sevens, and that’s another thing to add to it. Being third in the World Cup is very special.” It could have been better, but earlier in the day Ireland narrowly lost 17-10 to New Zealand in the semi-finals; Literally falling back by bouncing the ball and one or two crashing issues.
Ireland has given up any disappointment, its resilience, its perseverance, and its application in beating Australia. “We talked about building as the championship went on and unfortunately we just lost to New Zealand but regrouping and getting the bronze just shows what a special group it is,” Kennedy said.
“To get a medal at the World Cup is unbelievable. We talked about it but to get out there and do it is incredibly special.” Fiji won the men’s title while Australia beat New Zealand to win the women’s title.
Head coach James Topping has built on the foundation laid by Anthony Eddy in a relatively short amount of time, and has racked up several accomplishments including the World Championship final and silver medal in Toulouse and now a third place and bronze medal at the World Cup.
Topping explained: “Obviously the World Cup is held every four years, and we spent a year and a half in the World Championships getting used to that level of competition. Entering the players and getting the bronze medal in the knockout competition and winning over the hosts South Africa and Australia, which She won the World Championship, it’s a really big boost for us.
“Hopefully we can build on this next year [season]. This World Cup was a showcase of the depth we’ve gained over the past two years with this team. Covid hit all sports, but it gave us some time to rebuild the team. The Olympics is what we want to try and qualify next, cheer on the players, and see if we can grow the team even more before it shows.”
Ireland’s women’s national football team finished off the World Cup in shining light with a 26-10 victory over England to finish seventh in the World Cup. He may have partially mitigated the disappointment of the overall defeats to New Zealand (28-0) in the quarter-finals and Fiji (24-0), having opened the competition with a victory over Brazil (24-12).
Ireland’s Aiden McNulty beat England on three occasions the two countries met during last season’s World Championship events, but in Cape Town they lacked the spark that earned them silver and bronze medals and the highest-ever finish finished fourth overall during that campaign.
Being bullied upon breakup was a notable performance flaw in defeats to New Zealand and Fiji, as double-threats of mum Lee Murphy Crowe and Pephen Parsons kept the Games perimeter. When England got off to a strong start, it briefly looked as if Ireland might be in trouble again.
England scored two of their first three attempts in the game through Megan Jones and Eli Putman with Stacey Flood responding to Ireland. The next result was decisive, Mulhall’s beautifully weighted kick that saw Murphy Crowe outrun the cover and a point down. Two Mulhall transfers gave Ireland at 14-10 interval.
The English indiscipline allowed Ireland several cutting platforms from which they added attempts from Megan Burns and second from the excellent Murphy Crowe. Mulhall and Eve Higgins, especially on defense, were notable contributors to the win.
Flood (26), one of the Krusty Dusties as she is and Murphy Crowe (27) and Mulhall (28) are affectionately known within the team: “We just have to show what we can do in the last game. It’s very frustrating to have two wins and two losses and to play so well. Good only in your first and last game.
“We are disappointed but, going forward, we know we just have to get back to basics when things don’t go our way.” Ireland has seven players making their World Cup debut and nine from the squad aged between 18 and 24.
Flood made the point: “It’s good to have time to play in the World Cup and to know how you feel. There are some young girls in this squad and I’m sure they will be staying around for a few World Cups.”