A Jordan Conroy-inspired Ireland finished a fantastic World Sevens Series on a high as they went to the well one more time to beat England 21-19 in the bronze medal match at Twickenham.
Their incredible run to the semi-final stage came undone as a ruthlessly powerful Fiji outfit marched into the decider.
But Ireland came into that game as the complete outsiders, only in the tournament on an invitation, while Fiji are the No 1-ranked team in London.
Having finished second in Pool B behind Australia, Stan McDowell’s men pulled off a superb 22-12 win over the USA to make the last four.
Fiji always looked like a mammoth task and so it proved, though Ireland will take enormous encouragement from their showing across the water as they turned over the host nation to come home with a medal.
The Irish made the perfect start when Conroy scored his sixth try of the weekend seconds in, skipping past Dan Norton and haring over the line.
Conroy bagged another after stout Irish defending led to a swift counter, and the lightning wing made hay.
England soon hit back. Ryan Olowofela’s terrific offload freed Dan Bibby to get them on the scoreboard, and Bibby tagged on another try – unconverted – to leave two points between them.
Norton then pushed his side 19-14 ahead and that point Ireland looked spent, but the brilliant Conroy had other ideas, completing his hat-trick with a try that Mark Roche converted.
That proved enough to give McDowell’s charges victory and end a memorable tournament on a particularly sweet note.