Olympic medal dreams of Ireland Sevens team hanging by a thread
IRELAND 17-19 USA
Battling defeats to the USA and South Africa have left the Olympic medal dreams of the Ireland Sevens team on the ropes.
Having lost their Olympics opener 33-14 to a strong South African side, Ireland needed to beat the Americans to stay in medal contention.
It was all USA in the opening three minutes, with Ireland defending for their lives before Perry Baker scorched down the left touchline to score.
A disastrous restart saw Madison Hughes pounce on a breaking ball and chase his own kick-through to make it 12-0.
Ireland were in a hole, but they kept going and Foster Horan's powerful run and awareness teed up Hugo Lennox for a score that gave them hope. Billy Dardis missed the conversion, so it was 12-5 heading into the break.
Lennox was the creator, early in the second half, as he kept a promising attack alive and set up Harry McNulty to score in the corner. It left Dardis with a touchline conversion attempt and his drop-kick was wide of the target, leaving Ireland still two points down.
USA then got themselves breathing room after a Brett Thompson break put them deep in the Ireland have. Steve Tomasin grabbed a crucial score and it was a seven-pointer as he dotted down under the posts.
Ireland's last chance came with a lineout inside the USA's 22, but they squandered possession and the clock ran out on the match, and their medal hopes.
Foster Horan got over for a late, converted try that was converted by Dardis. That late score could be crucial, but they will need a big win over Kenya, on Tuesday, to give themselves a chance of a quarter final spot.
It is not over for the Ireland Sevens side yet, but results will have to go in their favour.
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