Rugby Sevens win gold and secure Olympic qualification for Paris
The Irish Men’s Rugby Sevens team have tonight beaten Great Britain 26-12 to win gold, and secure all important Olympic qualification, at the European Games in Krakow, Poland.
The Ireland Men’s Rugby Sevens side, have secured qualification for their second consecutive Olympic Games, as James Topping’s side booked their ticket to Paris 2024 by claiming victory at the European Games in Krakow this evening.
Following their maiden appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Ireland Men will once again compete at sport’s showpiece event in Paris next summer, joining the Ireland Women’s Sevens who made history in May by qualifying for their first Olympics. Both Sevens teams now set to compete at the Olympics together for the first time.
Ireland Men become the seventh team to qualify for Paris 2024, joining hosts France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia and Uruguay, with the remaining six spots to be determined by regional qualifying tournaments and next year’s World Rugby Repechage.
Topping’s side secured European Games glory – and the golden ticket to Paris – courtesy of a 26-12 victory over close rivals Great Britain at the Henryk Reyman Stadium this evening.
Billy Dardis, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year; Terry Kennedy, and Jordan Conroy (2) all crossed for Ireland, completing an unbeaten tournament for the Harry McNulty-led side.
Ireland were in clinical form to progress through to the knockout stages as Pool A winners, defeating Poland, Italy and German before overcoming Belgium in the quarter-finals and Portugal in the last four earlier today.
Afterwards Irish captain Harry McNulty spoke; “I can’t put it into words. Just the effort from everybody involved; teammates, backroom staff, everyone at home that didn’t get the opportunity to come over and play here, the travelling support – I think there was nearly more Irish than Polish here at one stage.”
He went on to add; “It’s fantastic, it’s something that we’ve been working on for so long. Basically the last two seasons have merged into one because Covid pushed a couple of tournaments so it’s been like a way way longer season than we’re used to, and we just had to keep digging in and working hard for eachother, and to get the result is fantastic.”
“It means the men and the women are both going to Paris with a full year run at it. First time at it both going to the Olympic Games together; it’s so fantastic. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it! For both sides of the programme I couldn’t be more happy!”
“Sevens is an extremely difficult way to qualify, if you don’t come through the main season you go to the regionals and currently Europe is the toughest, so it was never going to be easy.
It’s funny, when I wake up I never really remember a dream; it’s just a blackout. Six or ten times this year I’ve had a dream and each time it was about winning this game, and I’m dead serious when I say that. I have been dreaming that for the last six months to a year in the lead up to this so I’m glad it’s now a reality.”