'We were all disappointed. He apologised in case people took offence to his comments'

Ireland captain Ciara Griffin said the entire squad stands with hooker Cliodhna Moloney.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

IRELAND WOMEN CAPTAIN Ciara Griffin says she and her team-mates were disappointed by comments made by IRFU director of women’s and sevens rugby, Anthony Eddy, this week.

Griffin said today that she had received an apology from Eddy after his comments, which appeared to be laying the blame for Ireland’s failure to qualify for the World Cup at the players’ feet.

An independent review into Ireland’s qualifying campaign is currently ongoing, with former Wales international Amanda Bennett leading that review.

Ireland face the USA tomorrow at the RDS in a November Test but the build-up has been dominated by the fallout from Eddy’s media briefing on Monday.

Griffin confirmed this morning that she and her team-mates were disappointed with Eddy’s comments.

“Yeah, I was. We all were,” said Griffin today.

“People have their comments, that’s fine. That’s what the review is for. We can put our feedback into that and we’re going to trust the review process.

“Anthony has addressed me in terms of that he apologised in case people took offence to his comments, but the comments were made. We now need to focus on the game at hand, then give our opinions in the review process.”

Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney, who starts alongside Griffin in tomorrow’s game, was the first player to publicly voice displeasure with Eddy’s comments, taking to Twitter on Tuesday to write, “I could have sworn slurry spreading season was spring… I stand corrected.”

Moloney has since received online support from several Ireland team-mates and Griffin stressed that the entire squad stands with her.

“I support Cliodhna 100%, we all do,” said Griffin.

“This whole team back Cliodhna and have her back. She is not alone. It’s really important that we get that across – that this group is very close-knit, it’s very tight, and we have Cliodhna’s back.

“We want to focus on this game as well but we have Cliodhna’s back and we support her. She’s very passionate about this game, we all are. We all want what’s best and to put our best foot forward. Cliodhna is not alone here, we all have her back.”

cliodhna-moloney Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Griffin said that the entire Ireland group is united with Moloney and denied that there is any split in the camp whatsoever.

“No, definitely not. There is no split in camp. It hasn’t really caused disruption because we have an international game in just over 24 hours, first game in the RDS, and it definitely hasn’t caused a split in camp.

“To be honest, we all back each other. We all have each others’ backs. It’s really important that that point gets across – we have each others’ backs at all times.”

Eddy’s position has been called into question this week following his comments. The IRFU has missed a series of targets in both the 15s and sevens games in recent years.

Asked if she has faith in Eddy’s position as director of women’s rugby, Griffin opted against commenting directly.

“We have to trust the process of this review and we put all our thoughts and opinions into this review,” said Griffin.

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“To be honest, we have to focus on this game. There has been a lot of outside noise this week with the comments and everything but that’s what the review is for. That’s where we will share our opinions and thoughts.”

The IRFU has also launched a wider review into women’s rugby in Ireland in recent times, although Eddy said on Monday that the second review is “pretty much on hold” while the World Cup review is carried out.

Griffin hopes that the reviews ensure that “the right pathways are in place for the good of the game in this country.”

“We want to be sure this game is left in a better place and that’s why we have these external independent reviews, but right now we just have to focus on USA tomorrow.”

Tomorrow will be Ireland’s first game since their devastating defeat to Scotland at the World Cup Qualifier tournament in Parma back in September.

Griffin and her team-mates are raring to get back into action.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking for all of us but we have an opportunity now to run out in the RDS for the first time,” said Griffin.

“What’s big is our family and friends being in the home crowd for the first time in two years, so we’re relishing that. We are relishing the opportunity to right some wrongs and deliver a performance we know we’re capable of.”

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