Thursday 22 August 2019

Tony and Katie making waves

Gordon awaits squad call

Leinster's Tony Ryan is tackled by Rob Herring of Ulster at Ravenhill
Leinster's Tony Ryan is tackled by Rob Herring of Ulster at Ravenhill
Katie Fitzhenry celebrates after scoring the first try against South Africa on Sunday

Gordon D'Arcy will harbour no regrets when his career ends in four months' time.

With a four-month contract extension and having been included in Joe Schmidt's initial World Cup squad that assembled at Carton House for preparations, D'Arcy was togging out for Ireland for a 14th consecutive campaign, a wonderful achievement, for the recent friendly against Scotland in the Aviva Stadium.

Having signed the short-term extension with the I.R.F.U., he was one of 45 names included in the squad for the friendly internationals, which would play such a pivotal role in the announcing of the final squad for the World Cup beginning next month.

But for the Leinster centre, despite playing the 70 minutes in the victory over Scotland, it's now a case of wait and see whether he will make Schmidt's final cut of 31 players.

D'Arcy has said: 'Come the 31st October, come hell or high water, I will not be playing professional rugby again. I will give it everything I have but if I don't get picked I can walk away from it going, "listen, I have had an amazing career"'.

It was also a weekend to remember for former Enniscorthy clubman, Tony Ryan, who made his debut for Leinster in their 24-21 victory over Ulster.

New Leinster coach Leo Cullen, himself a Wicklow man, handed the No. 8 his first Leinster cap, having been called into the squad in recent weeks to provide cover for the number of provincial players who will be on World Cup duty.

For Ryan it's a huge step-up but he was by no means out of place in what was quite a promising debut. He is the second Enniscorthy man in the Leinster set-up as Under-21 international and captain, Josh Murphy, is now part of the Development Squad, while former New Ross player, Tadhg Furlong, who is part of the Irish World Cup preparations, is confident of figuring prominently in Leinster's league campaign this season.

Former Wexford Vixens player, Katie Fitzhenry, now playing with the Blackrock Club, was one of Ireland's outstanding players when they secured a coveted place in the 2015-'16 World Rugby Sevens series.

Ireland had to settle for second place at the Dublin International Sevens tournament that hosted twelve countries over the weekend, but it was sufficient to see them qualify for the World series.

Fitzhenry was one of the try scorers in the 64-0 rout of Mexico, while they also defeated Hong Kong, before losing their crucial final group game 17-5 to South Africa, with Fitzhenry scoring the try.

They comfortably saw off China in the quarter-final, while less than 24 hours after losing their pool game to the Boks, they avenged that defeat with a 26-16 victory, with Fitzhenry also scoring the opening try.

In the final, they lost 13-12 to Japan through the concession of a last-minute penalty, while all of the winners' scores arrived in the closing three minutes.

Wexford People

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