Connacht Success At National 7's Festival

11 April 2017

Connacht Success At National 7's Festival
U19 Plate Winners Sacred Heart Westport.

Sacred Heart Westport celebrated two title wins last week with Athlone IT also picking up silverware at the IRFU's National U18s Festival for Sevens.

The three-day IRFU festival of Sevens was aimed at schools and third level colleges and proved hugely popular with all the participants and plans are already in place to make it an annual event.

Athlone IT celebrate with the cup.

Hosted in Terenure College RFC, the IRFU festival attracted 48 teams from schools and third level institutions and proved to be hugely popular with all.

Day one was the Men's and Women's Third Level Sevens with 12 teams taking part across the two strands.

Athlone IT picked up the Men's title with Belfast Met winning the Plate and IT Tralee the Bowl. In the Women's competition DCU, coached by Ireland's Sophie Spence, won the cup while IT Tralee added to their haul by winning the plate.

Day two was aimed at U19 Schools with 13 teams taking part. The King's Hospital won the cup in the boys' tournament with Dalriada picking up the Plate and Ballyclare High School taking the Bowl.

In the Girls' tournament, Sacred Heart Tullamore won the cup with Sacred Heart Westport picking up the Plate.

Both schools picked up more silverware on Day 3 at the U15 Girls X7s - a modified form of the game played across half a pitch.

Westport won the overall title with Ard Scoil Mhuire from Limerick taking the Plate and Tullamore the Bowl. There were even bonfires and a welcoming committee for the girls from Sacred Heart Westport after they captured silverware on days two and three of the festival.

The Women's Rugby World Cup Trophy also paid a visit during the three-day tournament and proved a very popular addition to the festival atmosphere.

Ireland Sevens player Elaine Ryan, coach of the Mount Temple team at the U19 Festival, said: “There's great enthusiasm from the girls from 1st to 6th year; there are plenty of girls who want to play.

“It's good for them to learn new skills and they really enjoyed the sevens atmosphere with the music and everything playing.”

Mark Connolly, IRFU Rugby Growth and Participation Manager, said: “This was the first year of this type of Sevens festival and the aim is to build it into an annual event. We have seen a lot of growth of the sevens game - particularly in Girls' schools and non-traditional rugby schools.

“It is also an enjoyable introduction to the sport and we hope it will provide a pathway for even more teenagers to play rugby - in all its forms - and possibly unearth some future Ireland stars.

“We'd like to thank all the teams that travelled over the three days and we hope to see them all back next year.”

The Sacred Heart Westport U15 Cup winners.