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'Alcoholic dumped us out of World Cup' claims state-owned Zimbabwe paper

It’s fair to say they haven’t taken defeat well.

John Mooney making a less controversial catch against the West Indies.
John Mooney making a less controversial catch against the West Indies.
Image: Ross Setford/AP/Press Association Images

A STATE-OWNED newspaper in Zimbabwe has claimed their team were “cheated” out of the Cricket World Cup by Ireland’s John Mooney before launching a deeply personal attack on the 33-year old.

The article opens by referring to the Irish player as “a recovering alcoholic who was so depressed last year he even contemplated killing himself” before going on to describe his controversial catch on the boundary that ultimately helped Ireland secure a narrow win as “a shameless piece of fielding dishonesty that has soiled this global cricket showcase.”

Source: Sumit Agrawal/YouTube

Speaking to The Slog Sweep earlier this week, Mooney said of the catch:

“I haven’t seen [a replay] yet. I just remember the ball going up. I had a look to see where I was beside the line and got as close to the line as I possibly could.

“I judged the flight of the ball perfectly and didn’t really leave any room for error. I was surprised it went to the third umpire because when I looked down on the ground I wasn’t touching the boundary line.

“I was confident that I wasn’t anywhere near it.”

The Herald, which claims to be the largest newspaper in Zimbabwe, goes on to lament all the perceived injustices suffered by its cricket team at the World Cup before reproducing part of an interview Mooney did with RTÉ 2FM’s Game On last year.

During that interview, Mooney described a twenty year battle with depression, the result of an unresolved childhood trauma, that saw him seek solace in alcohol.

The article is written by one of Zimbabwe’s most prominent and controversial sports journalists, Robson Sharuko.

Sharuko was banned for life by the Zimbabwe Football Association in 2012 for his role in a match fixing scandal that saw the national football team lose matches in Asia.

Ironically, his article in the Herald concludes by questioning Mooney’s character.

“For a man of such character, who has so much weighing down on his shoulders, it was very unlikely that, in the defining moment of such a big game, he could be trusted to have the honesty, let alone the decency, to concede that his foot touched the boundary.”

Responding to the article, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said:

“In relation to the story that has appeared in today’s Zimbabwe Herald, it would be easy to dismiss it as a childish diatribe if it wasn’t for the vicious personal attack on John which cannot pass without comment, and possible action.

“John represents his country with honour, distinction and integrity. That he does in the face of personal challenges about which he has spoken openly and movingly demonstrates incredible hard work and great courage.

“We understand, as does John, that public figures may occasionally be subject to negative comment, but in mocking John in such a contemptuous fashion, and using his personal difficulties as a mere punchline, the Zimbabwe Herald has demonstrated breath-taking crassness and a gross error of editorial judgement.

“We have made contact with ICC to understand what remedies might be available to us.”

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If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, please contact one of the following helplines:

  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Samaritans 116123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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