PLYMOUTH Albion flanker Eoghan Grace could have a chance of competing at next year’s Olympic Games after being named in Ireland’s 2015 Sevens squad.
Grace, who has spent the past two seasons at Albion, is one of 27 players selected to try secure Ireland a place at the Rio Games.
Ireland’s chances of making Brazil are slim, as they would need to win promotion from Europe Division C, then the European Repechage tournament in Lisbon in July and then win the World Repecharge final to secure the last spot in Rio. However, Ireland’s ultimate ambition is to be part of the IRB World Sevens Series by 2017.
Grace will be involved all summer with the Ireland squad as they compete in the Rugby Europe Division and also take part in the GB Sevens Series.
The flanker overcame hundreds of other players hoping to be named in the squad. He is only one of five players selected who have been playing outside Ireland.
IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “We were really impressed with the interest and the talent that applied for our men’s sevens squad back in January. With over 300 applicants, we had our work cut out to select just 26 players to take part in the upcoming events.
“We believe that this is a great opportunity for Irish rugby to develop a different pool of players in a different way. It is our ambition to be a part of the Sevens World Series by the end of 2017 whilst also having an outside chance for Olympic qualification in Rio in 2016.
“This is an exciting time for the players, for Irish rugby and we know that every Irish fan will wish them well.”
Ireland Sevens squad
Cian Aherne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Alan Bennie (Clanwilliam/Munster)
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Tom Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Matthew D’Arcy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster)
Eoghan Grace (Exiles)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Alex Kane (Exiles)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Michael Lawton (Exiles)
Shane Layden (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster/Munster)
Diarmaid McCarthy (Young Munster/Munster)
David McGuigan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Harry McNulty (UCD/Leinster)
Dave Moore (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Luke O’Dea (Shannon/Munster)
Matthew O’Regan (Exiles)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Steve Toal-Lennon (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Conor Toolan (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Ciaran Wardle (Exiles)
Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster)