Rugby sevens
Ireland’s Rugby Sevens celebrate their bronze in the World Cup in South Africa on Sunday. [Inpho/Travis Prior]

World bronze for rugby sevens

The Irish Men’s Rugby team won bronze medals at the Rugby Sevens World Cup tournament in Cape Town on Sunday. The Irish team secured third place with a 19-14 win over Australia. It was some consolation after losing their semi-final 17-10 to New Zealand earlier on Sunday. Ireland last reached the semi-finals in 1993 when they lost out to Australia in Scotland, but there was no third-place play-off back then. That option was open to them this time around and they had a moment of inspiration from Terry Kennedy to thank for the win. With the teams level at 14-14, Kennedy instinctively kicked a bad pass to his left to allow Ireland into space, Harry McNulty eventually touching down in the corner for the winning score. They had qualified for the semi-finals thanks to a 24-14 over hosts South Africa on Saturday. Earlier the Irish team had beaten Portugal 24-0 and England 17-5 on the opening day of the tournament. 

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Meantime, Ciara Mageean produced another terrific performance at the Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday last, finishing second in an elite field behind Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon. A week after breaking Sonia O’Sullivan’s long-standing Irish 1,500m record, the Portaferry athlete shone again, but could not reel in the brilliant Olympic and world champion. Kipyegon stole the show with a 4:00.44 run while Mageean clocked 4:01.68 as runner-up, catching third-placed Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia just before the line at the Letzigrund Stadium. The final was the climax of 12 global competitions in which athletes accumulated points for the opportunity to battle for the title of Diamond League Champion.

Ciara Mageean. [Inpho/Bryan Keane]