Cliodhna Moloney recalled to Ireland’s Six Nations squad

Exeter hooker has not been involved at international level since she accused an IRFU employee of ‘slurry spreading’ in 2021

Exeter Chiefs hooker Cliodhna Moloney is in line for a first Ireland appearance in nearly three years after being called up to Scott Bemand’s Six Nations squad.

In 2021, Moloney accused former director of women’s rugby Anthony Eddy of “slurry spreading” on social media. The post came after Eddy had defended the IRFU’s management of the women’s programme following an open letter to the Government, signed by players past and present, criticising the governing body.

Moloney has not been involved with the Ireland side since the incident.

During her international exile, Moloney moved from Wasps to Exeter in the English Premiership. In her international absence, Neve Jones has excelled as Ireland’s starting hooker, winning women’s player of the year by the country’s rugby writers in 2022.

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“There is no denying a lot of stuff happened two and a half, three years ago,” said Moloney in a recent interview with the BBC.

“And in the preceding four or five years ago that I was involved as well, there was a lot of issues with Irish rugby. I don’t think anyone could deny that.

“But it’s a long time to hold on to that feeling of ‘Will I, won’t I, be going back?’

“I was acutely aware of what the risks were, I’m a big girl and not going to cry about it.

“It’s unfortunate that’s the way things worked out but for your own sanity you have to park that a little bit and concentrate on playing rugby again.”

Elsewhere, Lauren Delany is expected to return to training next week after being stretchered off during Ireland’s recent defeat to Italy. The fullback is going through the return to play protocols after picking up a head injury. Ruth Campbell continues her rehab for a hand injury, which ruled her out of the earlier rounds of the Six Nations.

Six Nations squad members Natasja Behan and Clare Gorman have travelled to the Hong Kong Sevens while Ailsa Hughes and Kate Flannery have returned to their clubs after training with Ireland during the opening weekends of the Six Nations.

The Ireland management has provided a squad update ahead of the third round of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

Ireland are next in action against Wales at Virgin Media Park, Cork, on Saturday.

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