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Ireland end Cliodhna Moloney's two-year exile with recall

By Josh Raisey
The Ireland front row, from left, Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney and Linda Djougang ahead of the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs hooker Cliodhna Moloney is in line to make her first Ireland appearance since 2021 after being called up to Scott Bemand’s squad for round three of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

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The 30-year-old has not featured for Ireland since playing Japan in November 2021 due to a public spat with ex-IRFU women’s director of rugby, as well as being a signatory on a letter sent by a group of players to an Irish government minister that said they had “lost all trust and confidence in the IRFU and its leadership”.

But heading into the Championship, Bemand hinted that a return could be on the cards despite leaving her out of his initial squad.

He said: “I know Cli from being based in the UK, going around the clubs.

“I’ve spoken to Cli informally, just around wider stuff. There’ll be a time, you never know, when it’s right for both parties, but at the minute, it sits as it sits. So, status quo at the moment.”

Head-to-Head

Last 4 Meetings

Wins
2
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
26
16
First try wins
75%
Home team wins
50%

Elsewhere in the squad, fullback Lauren Delany is continuing her return to play protocols and is expected to resume full training next week after starting in the No15 jersey in the opening two rounds. Second row Ruth Campbell is still rehabbing the hand injury that has prevented her from taking part in the losses to France and Italy.

Other changes in the squad have seen Ailsa Hughes and Kate Flannery return to their clubs, while Natasja Behan and Clare Gorman are absent while taking part in HSBC SVNS Hong Kong.

Ireland face Wales next week at Musgrave Park with both sides searching for their first win of the tournament. Moloney will certainly help Ireland’s cause.

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