Moloney has been named on the bench

Cliodhna Moloney returns to Ireland’s matchday 23 for the first time since November 2021 this weekend. Ireland will play Wales in the third round of the Women’s Six Nations on Saturday.

Moloney has not played for Ireland in over two years after she criticised comments made by then-IRFU director of women’s rugby Anthony Eddy. Eddy had blamed the players rather than a lack of support for the team not qualifying for the 2021 Rugby World Cup. Moloney called the comments “slurry spreading” at the time and has not featured since posting the comments on social media.

Read more: IRFU’s Anthony Eddy steps down

However, Moloney was called up to the Irish squad in the fallow week of the 2024 Women’s Six Nations. This is under new head coach Scott Bemand and he has now named her in a matchday squad, starting from the bench.

Bemand had said before announcing his squad this week about Moloney: “Obviously it’s going to be very dominant in the headlines this week.

“The conversation was very informal. I knew her, have known her, for a good while. We had some ongoing informal conversations. I’ve been in England, I’ve bumped into her, crossed paths. It’s an opportunity that’s presented itself. We base everything around our on-pitch performances.

“We feel this is the right time. We feel she can add to it, so she was pretty pleased to say, ‘Yeah, I’d be up for coming in’.”

Moloney will add to Ireland’s bid for a first Women’s Six Nations win in this year’s tournament. The side have already lost to France and suffered a narrow defeat to Italy.

This weekend they come up against Wales who are also searching for their first win of the competition.

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on FacebookInstagram and Twitter/X.