Former Ireland internationals Jenny Murphy, Ailis Mardon-Egan and Sean O’Brien have questioned if the IRFU give the women’s national team enough support.
Ireland failed to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup after losing to Scotland in a qualifier yesterday, having also lost to Spain the previous week.
Italy will play at next year’s World Cup in New Zealand after defeating Spain, while Scotland will progress to a final qualifying tournament, where they will hope to be the 12th country to book their spot in the tournament.
The trio of Murphy, Mardon-Egan and O’Brien took to Twitter to call on the IRFU to give more support to the women’s national team, in order to avoid any future heartbreak.
It would break your heart looking at the Irish women’s team after that defeat! The effort and sacrifice they make is incredible and I think it’s very fair to say not enough is done for them!!the powers to be need to do more IMO!
— Sean O’Brien (@SeanOBrien1987) September 25, 2021
‘This result is a failing of the union.’
“It would break your heart looking at the Irish women’s team after that defeat! The effort and sacrifice they make is incredible and I think it’s very fair to say not enough is done for them! The powers that be need to do more in my opinion,” O’Brien wrote.
“I know how hard players worked to get qualified. Deeply disappointed for them and for women’s rugby in Ireland. This result is a failing of the union,” Murphy tweeted.
“Their lack of ambition (World Cup review) and poor support has led to this. Top of food chain, I question do they care at all.”
“There have been too many watershed moments over the years! When will we see actual change and action!” Mardon-Egan questioned.
“I am utterly devastated and questions have to asked of Anthony Eddy [Director of women’s rugby] and David Nucifora [IRFU high performance director] who have overseen the gradual demise of women’s rugby in Ireland!”
Ireland’s gradual demise.
Ireland enjoyed plenty of success last decade, as the women’s national team won the Six Nations in 2013 and 2015, the first of which was a Grand Slam.
They also reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in 2014, having beaten New Zealand in the pool stages of that tournament.
In recent years however, Ireland have fallen way behind France and England in the Six Nations, and their failure to qualify for the World Cup is a sure sign that they are not at the level required to compete on an international scale.
The lack of support the women’s game receives was highlighted earlier this month, when Connacht had to get changed beside bins outside Energia Stadium before their Interprovincial Championship match against Ulster.
The IRFU and Leinster Rugby apologised for the changing facilities, calling it an “unacceptable error”, although both came under significant criticism nonetheless.