Anna McGann is action for Ireland versus Belgium in a HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series match in 2022. Picture: INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

McGann returns to Ireland sevens squad for Madrid

Athlone’s Anna McGann has recovered from a long-term knee injury and has been included in the Ireland women’s sevens squad for this weekend’s inaugural HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Final in Madrid.

It’s a welcome return to international action for Moydrum native McGann, who has endured some tough setbacks with injuries.

Aoibheann Reilly from Creagh in South Roscommon and Ballinasloe native Béibhinn Parsons are also in the Ireland squad.

Parsons and Reilly return to Sevens action following their involvement in the Women’s Six Nations this year.

Meanwhile, Jordan Conroy - who has previously starred for Buccaneers - has been named in the Ireland men’s squad.

Following the conclusion of the seven-leg regular season, the top eight teams in the men’s and women’s SVNS standings assemble in the Spanish capital for a winner-takes-all event across three days from May 31 to June 2, where a podium finish could be act as the springboard for Olympic medal success later this summer.

Ireland men have been in consistently excellent form throughout the 2024 campaign, qualifying for this weekend’s HSBC SVNS Championship in Madrid with their highest ever overall finish of second, having been narrowly beaten to the League title by Argentina in Singapore earlier this month.

James Topping’s side were silver medallists in Singapore, while picking up three bronze medals after reaching five Cup semi-finals in all, and will be hoping to inject further momentum into their season ahead of a second consecutive Olympic Games appearance in Paris.

Head coach Topping has named a 13-man squad for this weekend’s action at the Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atletico Madrid, with Hugo Keenan and Connacht winger Andrew Smith included in the travelling party.

Keenan, a key member of Andy Farrell’s Ireland Men’s XVs side in recent seasons, links up with the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad five years after winning the last of his 12 Ireland Sevens caps.

During his two years in the Sevens programme, Keenan was a regular presence throughout the key moments on Ireland’s journey to HSBC SVNS Series qualification – a memorable third place finish as an invitational team in London, to the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, and then World Series qualification in Hong Kong in 2019.

Harry McNulty once again captains Ireland Men’s Sevens in Madrid, as Terry Kennedy - currently the Series’ top try scorer with 31 tries - will be hoping to continue his prolific form. Ireland Men will head up Pool B for the Grand Final, paired alongside Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand.

Ireland women, meanwhile, will also welcome back a number of players to their squad for Madrid, while Katie Corrigan receives her first Sevens call up having impressed during the Championship.

Allan Temple Jones’ side finished seventh overall, 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 Women’s Sevens squad: 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), Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC), Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)

Ireland Men’s Sevens squad: 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).