Ireland 24
Portugal 12

Daire Walsh reports from UCD

DESPITE CONCEDING TRIES at the start of both halves at the UCD Bowl, Ireland recorded their second victory of the day in the Pool C of the Women’s Global Sevens Qualification Tournament against a hard-working Portugal.

Strong defensive work from the Irish had initially denied Sara Jessica Silva in the 2nd minute, before Isabel Ozorio eventually secured an unconverted five-pointer.

This was an early set-back for the hosts, but with a strong crowd behind them (which included RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy), they subsequently settled into their stride.

Following her impressive performance from the bench in the opening game against Trinidad & Tobago, Railway Union’s Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe was handed a start for this encounter, and she finished off a prolonged attacking move on five minutes.

Wicklow native Lucy Mulhall was on hand to supply the bonuses, and courtesy of further touchdowns by Stacey Flood and Murphy-Crowe, Anthony Eddy’s outfit had developed a 17-5 interval cushion.

The Portuguese began the second period in a determined fashion, though, and via excellent approach play from Silva, Arlete Gonçalves crossed over on the right-hand side.

An Ozorio conversion reduced the gap to five points, but Ireland were composed for the remainder of the half.

Niamh Briggs and Ashleigh Baxter combined to set-up a seven-point salvo for Mulhall – which effectively decided the outcome of this contest.

This triumph now assures Ireland of a spot in tomorrow’s Champions Cup quarter-final, but top place in the Pool will be on offer when they face China at 6.45pm today.

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IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williams, Ashleigh Baxter, Stacey Flood, Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall (Captain).

Non-Starters: Niamh Briggs, Nicole Cronin, Kim Flood, Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

PORTUGAL: Christina Ramos, Sara Jessica Silva, Arlete Gonçalves, Catarina Antunes, Leonor Amaral, Isabel Ozorio (Captain), Catarina Ribeiro.

Non-Starters: Lezita Guerreiro, Ines Spinola, Maria Vasquez, Antonia Braga, Maria Heitor.

Referee: Alhambra Nievas (Spain).

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