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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
PA Grace Moloney has been with Reading since she was nine.
# Return
Ireland goalkeeper back in Reading squad after 'difficult time'
Grace Moloney had been absent since Ireland’s World Cup play-off win in Glasgow last month.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND goalkeeper Grace Moloney is back in the Reading FC Women squad after “a really tough time personally”.

Moloney hadn’t featured for her club since Ireland qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup following an historic play-off win away to Scotland last month.

In an interview on the club’s website today, Reading manager Kelly Chambers confirmed the shot-stopper will be included in the matchday squad for tomorrow’s Women’s Super League [WSL] clash against Aston Villa, having returned to full team training.

“She’s gone through a really tough time personally and we’ve just tried to help her through that,” Chambers said separately, as quoted by The Telegraph’s Women’s Football Reporter Tom Garry.

“For her, in many different ways, it’s been a difficult time, but she’s back training fully now.”

Generally Reading’s first-choice ‘keeper, having been at the club since she was nine-years-old, Moloney had been absent from the Royals’ matchday squads since being at the centre of a recent storm involving Vera Pauw’s Girls In Green.

In the wake of that play-off win at Hampden Park on 11 October, video footage emerged appearing to show some Irish players singing, ‘Ooh, ah, up the Ra’ — part of the lyrics to ‘Celtic Symphony’ by The Wolfe Tones — during dressing room celebrations.

The original footage appeared to be from an Instagram Live video posted by Moloney.

The FAI, Pauw and players including Chloe Mustaki and Áine O’Gorman all apologised afterwards, while European football governing body Uefa launched a disciplinary investigation.

“I have spoken already with several players about it and the one who posted it is devastated, she is crying in her room,” Pauw told reporters the morning after the video emerged. “She is so, so sorry. But there is no excuse for it.”

A lifelong Celtic fan, old tweets of Moloney’s were also shared in the aftermath.

The fallout cast a shadow over the Girls In Green’s history-making exploits: Ireland qualified for their first major tournament in next summer’s World Cup courtesy of the 1-0 victory.

Northern Ireland’s Jacqueline Burns has featured in goal for Reading over the past few weeks.

The42 contacted the club several times for an update on Moloney, but received no response on the matter.

In a short email shared by a member of the public on Twitter, the WSL club wrote: “We are fully aware of this issue, are dealing with it internally and the club will always take matters of this nature very seriously.” 

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The 29-year-old ‘keeper was named in Pauw’s most recent Ireland squad, and travelled to Marbella for an eight-day training camp which culminated in a 4-0 international friendly win over Morocco on Monday.

Moloney didn’t feature in that fixture — number one Courtney Brosnan assumed the mantle — but posted a heartfelt message on Instagram in the build-up.

“To this group of staff and players, from the bottom of my heart, thank you,” she wrote, alongside a picture of the Irish set-up after the monumental win in Glasgow.

Born in Slough near Reading, Moloney qualifies for Ireland selection through her grandparents.

Reading — also home to Diane Caldwell — travel to Villa Park for tomorrow’s WSL meeting.

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