Sexton left out of Sevens showcase
Ulster speedster Aaron Sexton has missed out on a place in Ireland's squad for next week's HSBC World Rugby Men's Sevens Series.
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Sexton and Ballynahinch's Iwan Hughes had been in Anthony Eddy's warm-up panel, but both of the Ulster players have been left out of the final 13-man squad for Ireland's debut as a core team on the world stage.
They are two of four players to miss out after being included in the squad for the warm-up Elche 7s tournament. Peter Maher and Cormac Izuchukwu were also left out, with Blackrock's Bryan Mollen and former Ireland Under-20 captain Jack Kelly brought in.
Sexton, of course, hit the headlines last season when he broke the record for the fastest speed record by an Ulster player, clocking 10.5m/s (37.8km/h) in the Celtic Cup game versus Cardiff. He would go on to become the fastest teenager in Europe before giving up his track career to devote his time to rugby, joining the Ulster Academy.
There is hope that Ulster could have representation at the tournament via the women's team. Lucinda Kinghan, Claire Boles and Maeve Liston are in contention, having been named in the warm-up squad.
Billy Dardis will captain the Ireland men's squad, who will open their tournament against USA next Thursday.
"The players have been looking forward to this for a long time and are delighted to be recognised as a core team on the World Series," said coach Eddy.
"They will be very keen to put in a performance that justifies all the hard work they have done to reach this point."
Ireland Men's squad for Dubai Sevens: Aaron O'Sullivan (Blackrock/Leinster), Adam Leavy (Lansdowne), Billy Dardis (Terenure College)(captain), Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College), Foster Horan (Lansdowne), Greg O'Shea (Shannon), Harry McNulty (UCD), Hugo Lennox (Skerries), Jack Kelly (Dublin University), John O'Donnell (Lansdowne), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers), Mark Roche (Lansdowne), Terry Kennedy (St. Mary's College)