Limerick-based rugby players chase Olympic spot

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella

Limerick-based rugby players chase Olympic spot

FOUR Limerick-based players have been included in the Ireland Women's Sevens squad to compete in the Women's Global Olympic Qualifying Tournament in UCD this weekend. 

The UL-Bohs pair of Niamh Briggs and Louise Galvin are joined in the squad by the Shannon RFC duo of Nicole Cronin and Aoife Doyle are included in the 12-strong squad for the event.

Cronin, who returned from injury to take part in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix in Kazan this month, is joined by Ireland 15s captain Briggs who will win her second Sevens cap, having made her Sevens debut in Kazan. 

Backs Doyle and Galvin were involved at stages across the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series this season.

Ireland have been drawn in Pool C with China, Portugal and Trinidad and Tobago.

There are two prizes at stake for the Irish side. Not only will they be vying to win Olympic qualification, but they are also seeking to maintain their place as a core team on the World Series.

Top-seeds Russia and Spain have already secured their places for the HSBC Women's Sevens Series 2016-17 and the team that finishes top, exclusive of those two will join them on the series next season.

Ireland's first game on Saturday is against Trinidad and Tobago at 12.34pm. They will then face Portugal at 3.40pm and play China in their final Pool C game at 6.48pm.

Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby, Anthony Eddy said: "The tournament this weekend is something we've been building towards all season. With both Olympic Qualification and a place as a core team on next season's World Series, we are very much aware of what is at stake.

“The players have gained great experience from being on the World Series this year and understand what is required from them in UCD this weekend.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Men's 7'S team came up short in their bid to secure qualification last weekend.

The  Irish 7s men’s team dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero later this summer were dashed in Monaco.

The Irish squad, which included, Young Munster’s Dan Goggin and Garryowen’s Alex Wootton suffered a heart-breaking 12-7 quarter-final defeat to a more experienced Spanish side.

Ireland had been impressive winners of three group games on Saturday.