Shane Lowry meeting Tokyo highlight for Ireland Sevens so far after opening loss

Ireland captain Billy Dardis about to lead his team out against South Africa in the Sevens’ first ever Olympic appearance (Image: ©INPHO/Photosport/Kenji Demura)

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Meeting Shane Lowry in the athletes village has been one of numerous Olympic highlights for Greg O'Shea.

But the former Love Island winner admits the Ireland Sevens must get into gear now after losing their opening pool game to South Africa at Tokyo Stadium this morning.

Ahead of the first round of the men's golf tournament that starts on Thursday, Lowry got a flavour for the Games when he went to the village to meet fellow members of Team Ireland.

"We follow each other on social media but it was our first time meeting," said O'Shea.

"He's a great lad, he came into the village to meet everyone, obviously with masks and the two metres, and that just goes a long way with people.

"He met everyone – he doesn't need to be doing that, but he wanted to. That's cool.

Shane Lowry and Greg O'Shea
(Image: gregoshea)

"It's been great up to now, it's the pinnacle of sport and it's been very well run by the Japanese.

"It's unfortunate the crowd can't be here, and family and friends cheering us on, but I'm sure they're at home doing it."

O'Shea brightened as he recollected the moment when he met Lowry, but in terms of the serious business on the pitch, the Ireland Sevens' first-ever Olympic appearance did not work out as planned.

South Africa are third in the world rankings and the disparity in class showed. On their day, Ireland can compete with the best teams but they were stifled from the kick-off.

It took Anthony Eddy's side eight minutes to get into their rivals' half – and when they managed it, they scored a converted try from the move through Terry Kennedy.

Ireland’s Terry Kennedy on the charge against South Africa
(Image: ©INPHO/Photosport/Kenji Demura)

That was the final play of the first half and it gave Ireland a lifeline, as they trailed 14-0 before that.

The second half brought little improvement, however, with a Gavin Mullin try failing to stem the tide.

Jordan Conroy didn't get a chance to shine and Ireland eventually succumbed 33-14, and O'Shea and his team-mates need a big performance against the USA at 10.30am Irish time today, before meeting Kenya in the third and final pool game tomorrow.

"I'm just off the pitch now, a bit frustrated," said the Limerick man, who came on in the second half.

"I don't think we stuck to our game plan, really, we kind of played into South Africa's hands.

"We had fast lads in Terry and Jordan on the wings but just didn't give them the ball. It's nearly a cheat code on the wing for us, so we'll try and improve on that and go hard in the evening.

Ireland’s Gavin Mullin scores Ireland's second try against South Africa
(Image: ©INPHO/Photosport/Kenji Demura)

"They're one of the top teams in the world so if you're making mistakes and giving turnovers to them, they're going to punish you.

"We're well able for it, we just didn't come out of the blocks as well as we wanted to, maybe it was just we weren't mentally there at the start and that's just us, we need to learn and come back from it.

"We'll be alright. We've two more games in this group, so we'll go well.

"The USA are fully stacked but we'll go back inside and analyse that, rest up and go again.

"That's the beauty of Sevens, you have two if not three games a day so you can just park it now and go again, you're not waiting another week like the 15s lads, so we'll put this aside and go again."

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