Rugby

Irish Players Announce Their Solidarity Against Eddy’s Comments

"Is this the voice of someone who cares about the women's game in this country?"

Irish captain Ciara Griffin has announced the teams disappointment in Anthony Eddy after comments made in an interview with RTE this week.

Eddy, the Director of Women’s Rugby in Ireland, broke his silence after the failure of the World Cup Qualifiers with statements that have been branded as defensive, blaming and “spineless”.

In the interview, Eddy dismissed the notion that the XV’s team were falling behind their counterparts – both sevens and international teams across the waters, despite the difference in funding between them.

“ Both programmes have had a lot of resources thrown at them in recent years,” said Eddy, who also went on to say that it was “incorrect” to believe that the sevens were prioritised over the fifteens.

When asked about the possibility of professional contracts Eddy stated they’ll “look at other opportunities to contract players”.

“There are players that are still in our program who are on development pathways, whether it’s sevens or 15s. Some of those players will be front and centre in both forms of the game and will be utilised by Greg (McWilliams) over the coming years as well”.

The lack of concern for the growing disparity between Ireland and neighbouring international teams was labelled as “astonishingly defensive” as Eddy dispelled the rhetoric that the team would fall behind.

Scotland, Wales, England & France all offer professional contracts to their players, a fact which Eddy seemed unconcerned about.

When asked about the failure to qualify for the World Cup Eddy put it down to “the girls”.

“The girls themselves are disappointed not to have qualified and disappointed in their performances” he said, effectively putting the blame on the players, rather than any internal barriers at play.

Cliodhna Moloney, who is currently in camp with the fifteens, shared the interview, tweeting that she “could have sworn slurry spreading season was spring”. Former Irish International player Jenny Murphy took a more direct approach labelling Eddy as “spineless”.

While some players have distanced themselves from Moloney’s comments given the upcoming November games, others have taken to Twitter to announce their solidarity with the forward.

Irish captain Ciara Griffin said that’s she supports Maloney’s comments “100%”. –“We all do. This group is very tight, we have Cliodhna’s back” .

Ciara Cooney said that Moloney was “a person with integrity who aspires to do the right thing & endeavours not to be a bystander”.

Much revered Lindsay Peat also announced that she was standing #shouldertoshoulder with her teammate sharing the quote “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation”.

Aoife McDermott and Samantha Monaghan also tweeted that they stood with Moloney.

In a week that should have been celebrating the Women’s game, given the historic match to be played against the USA in the RDS tomorrow, the defensive, blaming and ignorant comments from Eddy have left a bad taste in people’s mouths, with the hashtag #eddyout being thrown around on Twitter.

Similar moves by the Welsh team at the start for this year resulted in changes and the introduction of 25 contracts, both professional and semi-pro.

In April, 123 former Welsh players wrote a joint open letter to the Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Steve Philips calling for the the women’s game to be more developed in terms of pathways, regional teams and equal opportunities – “We cannot stand by and watch the women’s game deteriorate any further”.

A statement which is now being echoed by those in the green jersey.

In an Irish rugby climate that typically sees an undercurrent of displeasure but no real vocal advocates, the continued announcement of players, both former and current, standing #shouldertoshoulder is a watershed moment for the team.

The pressure is on the IRFU for not only a response to Eddy’s blame game but for answers on professionalism, the results of the ongoing review and the end of the discrepancy between the national teams.

Jessica Woodlock

Jessica is a final year student of Journalism in Dublin City University. She has a passion for reporting on news, current affairs and sports with a particular focus on women's rugby. She is also the current news editor for DCU's newspaper, The College View.
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