Ireland door ‘not closed’ to Cliodhna Moloney after controversial omission in squad


Ireland assistant coach Rob Sweeney says the door is not closed to Cliodhna Moloney returning to the squad. The Wasps hooker, who has 31 caps for Ireland, has been controversially left out of the extended squad for this year’s Women’s Six Nations.

Reland faces a competitive game when they play Italy at Musgrave Park on Sunday after losing their opening two games against Wales and France.

There have been calls for the veteran Moloney to be brought back into the squad after Ireland’s problems at set pieces in this league. Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams said last month it was a “rugby decision” to keep Moloney out, while IRFU CEO Kevin Potts recently said Moloney’s omission was based on her form and had nothing to do with her description of the comments made as “mud spreading ‘ to be done by now former IRFU Director of Women’s Rugby Anthony Eddy.

Sweeney says they support the current players they have in the squad and particularly Neve Jones, who started for Ireland in the first two games at Hooker.

“Cliodhna is an outstanding player. But I think Greg (McWilliams) talked about that at the start of the tournament. – He called that somehow. The door isn’t closed on Cliodhna of course, she still comes up for conversation but I think if we look at what Neve Jones has done in the last two games I think she’s been outstanding and there’s no reason at the moment , to drop Neve. Says Sweeney.

“She (Moloney) is never going to go away. Right now we support what we have. And again I have to double down and just say how well I think Neve Jones did,” Sweeney added. “Neve Jones was one of our best players. She was outstanding. Her growth has been exponential since going to Gloucester and coming back. She really deserves to be there.”

“It’s sort of the beginning of this team’s journey. It will be fixed. John Fogarty (Irish men’s scrum trainer) is helping me with this. David Nucifora (IRFU Performance Manager) was there on Saturday and helped get everyone on the same page,” says Sweeney. “We will be better on Sunday.

“The playing age of some of our girls is quite young compared to some English and French girls, but we know that. The girls are aware of that, but I’m absolutely sure there are a few key things we can do to get better by Sunday. I know we will be better on Sunday. The girls themselves know we will be better on Sunday.” Ireland door ‘not closed’ to Cliodhna Moloney after controversial omission in squad

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