'We need to be treated better so we can play better'

Two Ireland internationals have expressed their disappointment about Connacht’s changing facilities.

Ireland Women are in Italy at present.
Ireland Women are in Italy at present.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

Updated Sep 16th 2021, 3:04 PM

TWO IRELAND INTERNATIONALS have expressed their disappointment over last weekend’s changing facilities fiasco at Energia Park, where Connacht Women had to get ready in a derelict area with rats in close proximity.

The incident took place before Connacht’s inter-provincial draw with Ulster last Saturday and has drawn extensive criticism in recent days. The IRFU and Leinster Rugby have since apologised and the union has also confirmed that a review is underway.

While Ireland Women are currently in the midst of a crucial 2021 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Italy, they are well aware of what happened back at home.

Ireland out-half Stacey Flood expressed her hope that it is never repeated.

“Obviously, it’s really disappointing to see and no one ever wants to be in that situation,” said Flood this afternoon.

“It’s good that the accountability has been taken, it has been apologised for. When you see something like that, it’s rarely that you’re going to see it ever again. It’s out there now and if it happens again, it’s going to be a bigger mistake than when it happened the first time.

“It’s just something that was hugely disappointing to see but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen again. Hands have been raised, questions have been asked, so hopefully we will never see anything like that again.”

Ireland second row Sam Monaghan, who made her Test debut in Monday’s defeat to Spain, plays her club rugby with Wasps in England.

Former Meath footballer Monaghan was also disappointed to see the videos of the facilities in Energia Park last weekend.

“The IRFU and Leinster held their hands up, apologised, and said it won’t happen again,” said Monaghan.

“It’s sad for the girls as well but I think going forward, things do need to improve. We need to be treated better so we can play better. It’s not something going into a big game like that, performance-wise… you’re just like, ‘This isn’t good enough.’

“But I’m glad they apologised and said it won’t happen again and hopefully we can see where they go from there.”

While there is widespread anger over the treatment of the inter-provincial teams amidst the challenges caused by Covid-19 restrictions, Flood stressed that the Ireland national team are not left wanting in their preparation for games.

Flood has been part of the Ireland 7s set-up for around seven years and switched into 15s last season.

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“I’ve been in the Irish set-up since I’m 18,” said Flood.

“I’m now 25 and I can hand-on-heart say that I’ve never experienced anything like that in my playing days and it’s only getting better the older I’ve gotten. You’re actually expecting more now and it’s great to see the facilities we have and everything we have behind us.

“It’s only going a better way and hopefully clubs and inter-pros can follow in the footsteps of the national team and we can get all the standards driven, so it will work up and work down the way.”

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss Ireland’s World Cup qualification campaign, the dressing-room debacle which overshadowed the interpros, and where Irish women’s rugby goes from here.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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