Kildare men key as Ireland progress to semi-finals of Hong Kong 7s tournament

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Kildare men key as Ireland progress to semi-finals of Hong Kong 7s tournament
18:00 Saturday 7th of April 2018

Kildare trio Will Connors, Jimmy O'Brien and Billy Dardis have been influential for the Irish 7s in Hong Kong where they have qualified for the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

The Irish men topped their pool with three straight victories, before comprehensively defeating Zimbabwe in the quarter-finals. Their semi-final opponents will be Japan, and that game will be played on Sunday morning at around 5.50 am Irish time.

Ireland opened up their campaign with an easy 41-5 victory over the Cook Islands in their first pool game, and Eadestown man Jimmy O'Brien, a member of the Irish U20 team that made it to the 2016 World Cup final, bagged two tries in an energetic display. Naas native Billy Dardis, who is captaining the side, slotted over two conversions in the comfortable win.

O'Brien was on the scoresheet again almost immediately in Ireland's next game as he dotted down for their first try in the 26-0 win over Jamaica that put them in control of the pool.

Anthony Eddy's impressive charges secured their place in the quarter-final with another resounding victory as they breezed past Uruguay 36-0, and O'Brien lit up the match with this stunning solo score.

Up next was Zimbabwe in the quarter-final, and yet another comprehensive win ensured progression to the last four as Ireland ran out 38-5 winners.

If Ireland win the tournament they will make it onto the World Series stage, marking a remarkable rise for the 7s game in this country.

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