Hugo Keenan named in first Sevens squad since 2019 ahead of potential Olympic run

Ireland men and women in action at the World Series Grand Final this weekend at Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano Stadium

Hugo Keenan has been named in the Ireland Sevens squad for the first time since 2019 after deciding to return to the fold ahead of the Paris Olympics.

The Leinster fullback has been named in James Topping’s 13-man squad for the World Series Grand Final event in Madrid, taking place at Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano Stadium this weekend. Keenan previously earned 12 caps in Sevens across a two-year period, playing a role in Ireland qualifying for the World Series event in 2019. He is set to miss Leinster’s URC run-in and Ireland’s tour of South Africa.

Prior to this squad being announced, Keenan previously spoken of the allure of being involved for Paris: “I suppose you’re always a small bit tempted with the idea of playing in an Olympics, “ he said. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?

“It’s an incredible opportunity for the Sevens players. I know a lot of them have done it already in Tokyo. I played a small part in getting them qualified for that, so I suppose back then it was tough to leave that behind. You’re always tempted to see if it’s possible.”

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Andrew Smith, the Connacht wing who was a regular on the Sevens circuit until last year, also returns to the squad for Madrid.

After Ireland finished the seven-leg regular season in second place, behind league winners Argentina, they qualified for the event in Madrid which features the top eight teams in the world.

Meanwhile on the women’s side of the draw, Ireland have been boosted by the return of Beibhinn Parsons and Aoibheann Riley from the Six Nations squad. Katie Corrigan, who made her 15s debut during that Six Nations, which saw Ireland secure World Cup qualification for next year, has been handed a maiden Sevens call-up. Anna McGann also returns having recovered from a long term knee injury.

Allan Temple Jones’ side finished seventh overall in the World Series, the highlight of their campaign being the historic maiden title win in Perth back in January. They have been drawn in Pool B for Madrid, alongside league runners-up Australia, Olympic hosts France and Fiji.

Ireland Men’s Sevens: Niall Comerford (UCD RFC), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC), Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC), Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC), Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster), Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s College RFC), Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC), Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)(captain), Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC), Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby), Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College RFC), Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Connacht), Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC).

Ireland Women’s Sevens: Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC), Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere RFC), Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)(captain), Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC), Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC), Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC), Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC), Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC), Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC), Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC), Ashleigh Orchard (Cooke RFC), Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC), Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC).

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