The Ireland Men’s Rugby 7s team are making their final preparations ahead of their involvement at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, where James Topping’s talented changes will be determined to make a splash on the banks of the River Seine.

The Irish contingent booked their place at the Olympics last year when they beat rivals Great Britain 26-12 in a winner-takes-all face-off in Poland to secure their berth at a second successive summer games.

Topping has yet to officially confirm his squad for Paris. However, the core of the roster that finished fifth at the recent Madrid Sevens on Monday are braced for inclusion.

Two well-worked play-off victories over Great Britain (19-14) and South Africa (12-7) in Madrid allowed Ireland to finish the tournament with a confident surge, and they will be eager to carry that momentum to Paris.

Below, we’ve profiled the players you can expect to be included in the Ireland Men’s Rugby 7s squad for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Niall Comerford

Niall Comerford was a talented multi-discipline sporting star as a youngster, representing Dublin at underage level in hurling and winning a club Minor A title in the same arena with Kilmacud Crokes in 2018.

The 24-year-old UCD man soon dedicated his abilities to rugby, however, and his sparkling performances for Blackrock College and the Leinster Academy earned him a call-up to the Irish U20s setup in 2020. Comerford has played 127 7s matches since 2021.

Jordan Conroy

Tullamore native Jordan Conroy was a latecomer to rugby, first trying his hand at the sport at the age of 18. However, the former Connacht Club 2017 Player of the Year made a seamless adaptation to the game.

Conroy’s first involvement with the Irish 7s team was at a tournament in Amsterdam in 2016, and the 30-year-old has been a prolific presence for Ireland since. Conroy, who was a former contestant on TV shows Love Island and Dancing with the Stars, scored two tries in Ireland’s Olympic qualification win over Great Britain last year.

Sean Cribbin

Sean Cribbin has been a staple in the Irish squad since making his debut for the country’s rugby 7s team in Dubai back in late 2017. The 25-year-old was on Ireland’s panel at the last Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, helping his team to a 10th-place finish.

Cribbin was a gold medallist for Ireland in the 2023 European Games a little over 12 months ago, and the Dublin-born star and former Leinster Schools Senior Cup team member has racked up 16 appearances in green over the last seven years.

Billy Dardis

Former skipper Billy Dardis was a national team member for Ireland’s U20 rugby union side and featured in the World Rugby Championship for that age group, as well as the U20 Six Nations, where he caught the eye at scrum half.

Dardis, who had a brief spell with Leinster earlier in his career, captained the 7s at the last summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 29-year-old is one of the more senior members of James Topping’s squad and has appeared in 27 7s fixtures for his country.

Hugo Keenan

Hugo Keenan’s decision to commit himself to the Irish 7s team for the Olympics was seen as a major boost, and the inclusion of the top-tier operator should heighten the side’s chances of ruffling some feathers in Paris.

Keenan has been a key member of Andy Farrell’s Ireland Men’s 15s team in recent seasons, while he has also been a serial winner with Leinster at club level. Speaking about his decision to commit to the 7s campaign, Keenan said:

“These opportunities don’t come around too often. I had to make a tough decision, but hopefully, it’s one that I won’t regret and I’ll fully commit now over the next few weeks and see what happens.”

Terry Kennedy

Terry Kennedy was part of the successful Irish U20 team that reached the junior World Cup final back in 2016 alongside Hugo Keenan, among others. He made his debut for the 7s in 2015.

Kennedy, who can be deployed in the centre or on the wing, has amassed 40 appearances for Ireland’s 7s across the last decade. His dad (of the same name) also played rugby for Ireland.

Hugo Lennox

Another Dubliner, Hugo Lennox made his debut for the Irish national sevens team back in 2018 and starred in the 2019 London Sevens shortly afterwards. Lennox played alongside his brother Conor for hometown club Skerries in the AIL, and the 25-year-old has picked up 12 caps for Ireland since his debut six years ago.

Harry McNulty

Harry McNulty is the second-oldest player on the Irish roster and the 31-year-old will captain Ireland at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. With 30 appearances for the 7s since 2015, McNulty has been around the block, and he returned from a stint stateside with LA Giltinis to join up with his compatriots in preparation for the upcoming games.

McNulty’s brother, Sean, is a pro Rugby Union player, currently attached to the Miami Sharks in the US.

Gavin Mullin

Gavin Mullin is one of the fresher faces in the Irish ranks ahead of the Olympics, and he is in line to win his first official cap for the 7s this summer. A Leinster academy graduate, Mullin logged several appearances for Ireland’s U20s team in 2017. Mullin’s father Brendan is the heroic former Ireland and Lions centre, so he has big boots to fill.

Aaron O’Sullivan

23-year-old Aaron O’Sullivan has been a regular on the sevens scene since making his debut for Ireland in the discipline four years ago in 2020. Born in Basingstoke in England, O’Sullivan was on the books at Wasps for a spell before moving to Ireland to join Leinster. O’Sullivan was also a keen footballer as a youngster and represented both Southampton and Reading at academy level.

O’Sullivan has been working his way up through the ranks at Leicester, though the powerful performer is still waiting patiently to make his debut for the provincial outfit.

Andrew Smith

A former cap at U20 level for Ireland, Andrew Smith plays his club rugby for Connacht, where he has been pushing for a more prominent role on the wing. The 23-year-old was part of the Irish side that flew the flag at the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2023, Smith was named as the Irish Men’s 7s Player of the Year for his sparkling displays on the flank.

Born in the capital, Smith attended St Michael’s College in D4 – a school that has rich rugby traditions, producing a string of Leinster players and Irish internationals, including Keith Gleeson, Ronan Kelleher, James Ryan and Ross Byrne.

Zac Ward

Ulsterman Zac Ward is another squad member with strong family ties to the sport, and his father, Andy Ward, played with distinction for the province in the 1990s. Ward has been in the Irish 7s setup since 2021, when he was included in the country’s selection for the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. Ward played a key role in Ireland’s qualification victory over Great Britain at the 2023 European Games a year ago.

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