Katie Fitzhenry: We’re starting to gel at the right time

Wexford native Katie Fitzhenry is hoping that Ireland can build on victory over Italy when they welcome Wales to Donnybrook Stadium tomorrow afternoon (3pm).

Katie Fitzhenry: We’re starting to gel at the right time

Following a heavy defeat to France in the opening round of the Women’s Six Nations, Adam Griggs’ side got back on track with a 21-8 success over the Italians a fortnight ago.

Fitzhenry returned from sevens duty to partner Sene Naoupu in the centre for that clash, and she feels the team are beginning to gel at the right time.

“I think progression is probably the main thing here. We progressed from the France game and into the Italy game, and hopefully we can progress again this weekend,” Fitzhenry said.

“The team is really gelling well together and hopefully we can make some of those wrongs from last week into some rights.”

While Ireland did have a training camp last week during a break in Six Nations action, yesterday’s Captain’s Run is the only pitch session they have had in the days leading up to their latest encounter with the Welsh.

However, Fitzhenry doesn’t see it as a major hindrance.

“It’d be great obviously to have more sessions with the team within the week, but that’s not how it is or how it can be at the minute. For me it’s good to just come and get this session done at a high intensity.

"We’re all working well together and as long as that happens we’re in a good place going forward on the weekend,” Fitzhenry added.

Ireland have been forced into one change in their back line, with Claire McLaughlin returning to the starting line-up in place of the injured Alison Miller.

Griggs confirmed that the experienced winger would be out of action for “six to nine months” as a result of the compound ankle fracture she sustained against Italy.

Ciara O’Connor and Leah Lyons will join former Dublin ladies football star Lindsay Peat in the front-row, while Orla Fitzsimons’ selection sees Paula Fitzpatrick switching to No 8.

There is one alteration to the Welsh team that suffered a 52-0 demolition at the hands of England in the last round. Full-back Lisa Neumann is handed a maiden start at the expense of Robyn Wilkins.

IRELAND: K Flood; M Williams, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu, C McLaughlin; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C O’Connor, L Lyons, O Fitzsimons, N Fryday, C Griffin, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick.

Replacements: C Moloney, L Feely, F Reidy, A McDermott, E McMahon, N Cronin, M Claffey, H Tyrrell.

WALES: L Neumann; H Bluck, K Lake, R De Filippo, J Kavanagh-Williams; E Snowsill, R Parker; C Thomas, C Phillips, A Evans, S Lillicrap, M Clay, A Butchers, B Lewis, S Harries.

Replacements: K Jones, C Hope, M York, N John, NE Davies, J Knight, R Wilkins, H Jones.

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