Ladies qualify despite falling to late Japan rally in finals
Anthony Eddy's Ireland side secured their place in the 2015/16 Women's Sevens Series at the end of an eventful two-day qualifier tournament at the UCD Bowl.
Thanks to their semi-final win over South Africa, Ireland were guaranteed a spot in the series before their decider with Japan.
Two tries from Amee-Leigh Crowe gave the Green Army a 12-0 lead with four minutes remaining, but a late rally, including a last-gasp penalty from Yume Okuroda, helped Japan secure the title.
Ireland got their Pool C campaign off to a perfect start on Saturday with wins over Mexico (64-0) and Hong Kong (50-0).
Portlaoise's Alison Miller scored four tries in the latter encounter, and even though a 17-5 defeat to South Africa in their third game meant that they had to settle for second place, they progressed to the quarter-final showdown with China yesterday.
A brace of tries from Alison Miller and Claire Keohane helped Ireland to return to winning ways, and with South Africa defeating Hong Kong 21-5, they were offered a shot at redemption in the first Cup semi-final.
They set their stall with tries from Katie Fitzhenry and Mulhall, and although Zenay Jordaan opened the Springboks' account, Miller crossed to give Ireland a 19-7 cushion.
Another try for Veroeshka Grain upped the pressure, before another seven-pointer by Mulhall provided breathing space.
This was Ireland's fifth win in six games, and with the top-two sides qualifying for the World Series, they had effectively achieved their objective.