The Irish Rugby Sevens side suffered heartbreak in their final pool game against Kenya when they conceded a try with less than a minute left on the clock which cost them a place in the quarter-finals on score difference.
However they bounced back from that insufficient 12-7 win to trounce South Korea 31-0 and will now play for ninth place, facing Kenya again after the African side beat Japan in the other 9th-12th place semi-final.
Ireland went into the Kenya game knowing that they needed to win by at least eight points if they were to progress and got off to a dream start with a try in the first minute.
A fine piece of skill from Terry Kennedy opened a gap for Hugo Lennox who drove for the line and scored the opening try, although the conversion was missed.
Just over a minute later and Ireland had their second try of the match, with Harry McNulty capitalising on a Kenyan handling error and going over, before Billy Dardis added the extras.
Ireland were in complete control in the first-half, penning Kenya back inside their own half and forcing them into making some very uncharacteristic errors.
Jordan Conroy had a decent chance to add to Ireland's tally early in the second-half but was unable to make the most of it as a fine tip-tackle halted his run with the line beckoning and his pass was intercepted.
As the clock ticked down, Irish nerves began to creep in.
A crooked Irish line-out throw in their own half gave Kenya a scrum with a minute left on the clock and from that scrum, they split the Irish defence for Vincent Onyala to touch down under the posts.
Daniel Taabu kicked the conversion with less than 30 seconds to go and although Ireland pushed for the score that would have saw them through but a wayward pass found touch and Ireland’s Olympic dreams ended.
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South Korea were simply overwhelmed by Ireland, who did well to put their disappointment of a few hours earlier aside and rack up five tries - Jordan Conroy and Gavin Mullin helping themselves to a brace each, with Mark Roche also dotting down.
Speaking after the Kenya match, McNulty said that some "uncharacteristic errors" cost Ireland their place in the quarter-finals.
"Nobody won in that scenario," he said. "It's just really disappointing."
Harry McNulty laments some "uncharacteristc errors" as #Ireland7s, despite beating Kenya, failed to advance to the quarter-finals at #Tokyo2020 #ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #rtesport pic.twitter.com/rHoXukQSIS— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 27, 2021
He admitted that the Irish team will be frustrated by their performances in Tokyo, saying that they will look back on the three Pool C games and question why they didn't play to their abilities.
The Munster academy graduate said Ireland were on top from start to finish in the whole game, but mistakes proved fatal.
"It's just really hard to understand why we played to that standard, or lack of standard, after such a great tournament in Monaco [to qualify] and playing so well, especially against the French, to get here."