independent

Thursday 21 November 2019

Katie's dream year

Newcomer puts injury woes aside

Katie Fitzhenry missed the last two games through injury but still played a leading role in Ireland's Six Nations rugby success
Katie Fitzhenry missed the last two games through injury but still played a leading role in Ireland's Six Nations rugby success

Brendan Furlong

It has been an unforgettable first year for former Wexford Vixens player, Katie Fitzhenry, on the Ireland women's international rugby scene.

Having missed out on the RBS Six Nations 73-3 win over Scotland at Broadwood Stadium near Glasgow on Sunday with an ankle injury that also forced her out of the Wales victory the previous weekend, Katie was still able to sample the joys of success.

While a second championship and Triple Crown in three years were the rewards for Niamh Briggs and her team-mates, who were at their clinical best through a one-sided victory over Scotland, Katie was still delighted to be part of the squad despite missing out. She had made her debut in the win over Italy a few weeks earlier, while also figuring against France.

'It has not been a bad first year for me, in fact it has been quite marvellous and exciting. While disappointed to have been injured for the final two games it was still so exciting to be part of such a fine squad of players,' she said.

'In many ways the year has been unforgettable.'

Katie is the first player from Wexford to be part of an Ireland winning championship team, and is now up there with her male counterpart, Gordon D'Arcy, whose career also started out with Wexford Wanderers.

Katie is now off to Canada on Sunday for a ten-day training session with the Irish sevens team.

'It will be an intense ten days. Our aim is to qualify for the Rio Olympics for which we have some important tournaments coming up this summer in order to qualify. It's been an exciting time for me and Irish rugby really,' she added.

However, it was disappointing for Enniscorthy player John Murphy at Netherdale in Scotland on Friday when the Ireland Under-20 team lost out 17-10 to Scotland in their Six Nations tie, a defeat that left them sitting second from bottom on four points.

Former New Ross clubman Tadhg Furlong was part of the Ireland team preparations for the first time last week at Carton House in the lead-up to their historic 40-10 victory over Scotland which saw them put championships back-to-back for the first time in 66 years.

Now Tadhg will return to the Leinster set-up as they prepare for a top four league place and qualification for the knockout stages, while they also have an important Champions Cup quarter-final game with Bath next month.

It was a proud Saturday for local retired banker, Bob Quilty, when he saw nephew Paul O'Connell lift the championship trophy for a second successive year.

Bob was a happy man when he attended his local Mass in Ballymore Church on Saturday evening.

Wexford People