Bahrain-born Harry McNulty has been included in the Ireland Sevens squad for this weekend’s Rugby Europe Men’s Division C tournament in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although a far cry from the expected glitz and glamour of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Balkan state will provide the Ireland squad the first step in what they ultimately hope will be a successful journey to the showpiece event summer.
Remarkably, this is Ireland’s first competitive outing in the abbreviated form of the game since the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.
McNulty’s selection comes of the back of an impressive showing for the ‘Wolfhounds’ side at opening round of the GB 7s Series in Edinburgh last weekend, when they finished fourth overall in what was a hugely-competitive international invitational event.
The 22-year-old former centre is joined in the 12-man squad by UCD club-mate Adam Byrne, former Young Munster colleagues Diarmuid McCarthy and Gearoid Lyons and a host of other up-and-coming provincial academy and All-Ireland League players.
The team, captained by close friend Tom Daly of Lansdowne and Leinster, will take on Turkey, Belarus and Montenegro in Saturday’s group games, before the knockout stages on Sunday.
The top four teams from this tournament will go forward to compete in Division B in Croatia on June 21 and 22, with the winner of Division B qualifying to participate in the Rugby Europe Olympic Repechage Tournament in Lisbon, Portugal on July 18 and 19.
Should they manage to win that, Ireland will have the opportunity to win the final spot for Rio 2016 in the World Olympic Repechage.
This weekend is an extremely busy one for the McNulty clan as younger brother and fellow Bahrain RFC product Sean is part of the Ireland team taking on Scotland in the World Rugby U20 Championships in Italy.