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Fitzpatrick is urging girls in green to complete Grand Slam

By Cian Tracey

Back in 2013 when Ireland's women were preparing to take the final step on their Grand Slam journey, the hard work was largely seen as having already been done.

But, as the rain bucketed down, Ireland just about managed to get over the line against a dogged Italian side and the rest is history.

Fast forward four years and, while this is very much a new-look team, plenty of familiar faces remain as Ireland aim to repeat the trick against England in Donnybrook tonight (8pm).

For captain Paula Fitzpatrick, this is a chance to lead her team to glory and write themselves into the history books, but she is not underestimating the challenge that awaits.

"I think many cup finals have been won without the perfect game so I don't think we need to be perfect but we need to be very, very, very close and we need to stop England from being perfect as well so it will be more about mindset," the No.8 insisted.

"I think Irish people in general like to be underdogs. So no, it's not a bad position to be in. But I don't think we are way off by any stretch of the imagination.

Meanwhile, the Six Nations draws to a close this evening for the current Ireland U20s but, as was the case with last year's squad, there is a sense that there is still a lot more to come from them in June's World Cup.

Champions England arrive in Donnybrook (6pm) aiming to complete the Grand Slam and they will provide a stern test that will tell Nigel Carolan where his youngsters really stand.

"They are what you expect, they are very physical," said Carolan.

"While the Grand Slam and the Championship has slipped away from us, there is still massive motivation within the group.

"We spoke about it, we're playing against England on our home patch on St Patrick's Day. We hope to spoil the party for them really."

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