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'Shocked and disappointed' - Irish club furious over unexplained snub

By Ian Cameron
; Munster players run to their supporters after the Vodafone Womens Interprovincial Championship Round 3 match between Leinster and Munster (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

An Irish rugby club have said they are ‘shocked’ after a motion to grant Women’s AIL clubs senior status was withdrawn at Munster’s AGM last night.

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Ballincollig RFC said the motion was ‘withdrawn without notice’ and that they are seeking an urgent meeting with Munster Rugby over the decision. The motion would have brought the province in line with Leinster, Connacht and Ulster policies on the matter.

The decision comes in the context of a turbulent six months for women’s rugby in Ireland, where accusations were levelled against the IRFU over the treatment of the women’s game, accusations that contributed to two independent reviews and ultimately an apology from the IRFU last month.

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Respected Irish Independent journalist Ruaidhri O’Connor tweeted that: “At the 11th hour tonight (Thursday), the Munster Branch withdrew the motion to recognise women’s AIL clubs and players as senior from its AGM agenda. Suggestion is it wasn’t going to pass. Leinster, Connacht and Ulster all recognise Women’s AIL clubs and players as senior.”

Ballincollig said in a statement today that it was “shocked and disappointed that, after 12 months in the works, the motion to grant Women’s AIL clubs senior status was withdrawn without notice or explanation before the Munster Branch AGM last night”.

“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with Munster Rugby and the IRFU to see what steps can be taken to rectify this and to bring our province in line with others who recognise their Women’s AIL clubs as senior.”

“In what has been a turbulent period for the Women’s game it is disappointing that equality is still something that needs to be fought for and that not all Munster rugby players are considered equal.”

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One current Ballincollig player, Thérèse Ahern, posted: “On behalf of the let down, demoralised, yet still committed squad of players I’ve spoken to this morning, some of whom aren’t on Twitter and others worried about putting future red and green jerseys in jeopardy, I ask Munster Rugby, Jack Chambers and the IRFU, why not me?”

Ireland international Cliodhna Moloney commented: “Misogyny alive and well in Munster. May ye be dragged by the eyelids through a pile of steaming s***e and into the 21st century. Amen.”

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Founder of Scrumqueens Ali Donnelly described it as ’embarrassing and frustrating but for me personally a great reminder why I give up a load (aka all) of my free time to advocate for and campaign for women’s rugby and fairness across the sport. And memo to those clubs blocking progress – this won’t hold.”

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