independent

Sunday 21 October 2018

Katie 'fitz' the bill

Ireland’s Katie Fitzhenry tackles Lagi Tuima of England during the Women’s Six Nations game at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Friday
Ireland’s Katie Fitzhenry tackles Lagi Tuima of England during the Women’s Six Nations game at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Friday

Brendan Furlong

While some hours later Ireland may have gained an historic Grand Slam, there was no luck for the Irish ladies who lost to England on Saturday.

And they were served up a sobering reminder of what it's like to play at this level, suffering an eventual 33-11 defeat.

Ireland arrived in London hoping to spoil the English party as they chased a Six Nations title, but that was left to France whose win over Wales saw them crowned champions.

Ireland came off a home defeat to Scotland, and while there was huge all-round improvement in the side's display, their error count was very high, contributing to so many of the opposition scores with self-inflicted errors.

However, former Wexford Vixens player, Katie Fitzhenry, still emerged from the game with her reputation enhanced.

A regular with the Irish sevens set-up, having just returned from a sevens international tournament in Sydney, Fitzhenry emerged as one of the bright sparks of the Six Nations from an Irish perspective.

Fitzhenry showed real aggression in midfield, getting in some tremendous tackles to stop the English flow, while her attacking play was also excellent as she made some telling line breaks, in a powerful all-round display from the Wexford town woman.

Now playing out of the Blackrock club and Leinster, Fitzhenry - having made the breakthrough in last year's World Cup - is now developing into a top-class centre in the number 13 jersey.

In the Guinness PRO 14, a Munster side that included Robin Copeland suffered a 12-6 defeat away to Edinburgh.

Former Wexford Wanderers player, James Stafford, was introduced as a second-half substitute at scrum-half but failed to ignite a victory effort.

This is Copeland's final season with Munster as he has signalled his intention to move on, with Connacht already being mentioned as his next port of call.

Having been man of the match in their previous PRO 14 victory, Copeland one again turned in a fine all-round performance despite the defeat.

Another Wexford native to emerge on the international scene is former St. Martin's G.A.A. player, Dylan Fawsitt, who made his international debut for the U.S.A. last week.

Wexford People

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