Monday 20 February 2017

Defeat to Russia ends women's Olympic bid

Sevens Rugby

Nigel Whittaker

Published 27/06/2016 | 02:30

Aimee-Leigh Murphy got Ireland off to an ideal start when she crossed for a try early on. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Aimee-Leigh Murphy got Ireland off to an ideal start when she crossed for a try early on. Photo: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Ireland women's Sevens Olympic dream agonisingly fell short in UCD when they were beaten by Russia in yesterday's semi-final.

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The winners of the repechage tournament were guaranteed the last spot in Rio but, just like their male counterparts in Monaco last weekend, they missed out.

However, the consolation on what was a disappointing weekend is that crucially Ireland sealed their place on the World Series which will ensure that they are regularly playing amongst the world's best Sevens-playing nations.

Having eased to three straight pool victories on Saturday - Trinidad & Tobago (51-0), Portugal (24-12) and China (12-0) - confidence was high in the Irish squad but they came up against a formidable Russian side who they had yet to beat in any of their previous meetings.

It proved to be a step too far as tries in either half from Aoife Doyle and Alison Miller weren't enough to deny Russia sealing a 19-10 victory that sealed their place in the final that they subsequently lost (19-12) to Spain who also saw their men's side qualify for Rio last weekend.

The defeat meant that Ireland faced Kazakhstan for a place in the World Series and they quickly put the disappointment of missing out on the Olympics behind them with a comprehensive 17-5 win.

Aimee-Leigh Murphy got Ireland off to an ideal start when she crossed for a try early on and Aoife Doyle's brace sealed a victory that will prove to be crucial as Sevens continues to grow in this country.

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