Countdown to magnificent Sevens

Ulster stars Michael Allen and Andrew Trimble with Willie-John McBride at the launch of the Carrick Sevens. INLT 13-918-CON
Ulster stars Michael Allen and Andrew Trimble with Willie-John McBride at the launch of the Carrick Sevens. INLT 13-918-CON

Lions legend Willie John McBride, Ireland wing Andrew Trimble and Ulster talent Michael Allen were the star attractions at the launch of this year’s Carrick Sevens tournament this week.

Trimble, currently sidelined with a toe injury, together with team-mate Allen took time to pose for photos with some of Carrick’s youth team, while McBride was there to represent the Wooden Spoon charity.

The Sevens, set to be staged from May 1 to 3, is expected to attract 50 teams from England, Scotland and Ireland in six different competitions. And to help mark the club’s 150th anniversary, fans will also be treated to a junior interprovincial match between Ulster and Munster.

It all kicks off on May 1 with the Kukri Under-18s (6pm), which will see eight sides, including Edinburgh College, CIYMS and Carrickfergus, battle it out for the title. And for the first time, a girls’ Under-18s competition will be staged, with Belfast Harlequins, Bangor and Carrickfergus all in the running.

The Quigg Golden Open competition takes place on Saturday, May 2. With last year’s winners, Ulster Exiles having retired, it throws the tournament wide open. Teams to watch out for include: Queen’s, Ards and Belfast Exiles.

Organisers also anticipate a number of Fijian teams, as well as the usual Scottish contingent, to take part.

On Sunday, May 3 the action in the Abbey Ladies’ Sevens and the Manvik Qualifying League kicks off at noon.

In the men’s competition CIYMS will be aiming for four in a row but Dromore, PSNI and the hosts will be out to spoil the party.

The women’s tournament will see Queen’s bid to defend their title, but Cooke and City of Derry will be thinking differently, as will English sides Ormskirk and Novos.

The Ladies’ Development tournament, involving Coleraine, Newry, and Carrick, will also be hotly contested.