A shocking article in The Zimbabwe Herald called Mooney a “recovering alcoholic”and accused him of a “shameless piece of fielding dishonesty” during Ireland’s fiverun World Cup Pool B win over Zimbabwe in Hobart on Saturday.
Mooney, 33, left Ireland’s tour of the West Indies last year with what was described at the time as a “stressrelated illness”.
The Dublin native later revealed that he had undergone treatment in St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin for depression and alcohol issues.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said the organisation may consider further action against the newspaper and the journalist Robson Sahruko. The Herald has strong affiliations to the ruling ZanuPF party and president Robert Mugabe, while Sahruko was banned for life by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for his role in the ‘Asiagate’ match-fixing scandal, where players from the national team took bribes to throw matches played in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand between 2007 and 2009.
Deutrom said: “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.
"By using his personal difficulties as a mere punchline, the Zimbabwe Herald has demonstrated breathtaking crassness and a gross error of editorial judgement.”
Deutrom defended Cricket Ireland’s decision to publicly condemn the article, and said that the organisation spoke with Mooney’s wife before issuing the statement.
“There are some things you can ignore, but it was such an outrageous article, that we felt it could not pass without comment,” he told the Irish Examiner.
“I spoke to Helena today to say that we felt it important to demonstrate both our support for John and the depth of our anger.”
Mooney appeared to step on the boundary rope when claiming a catch to dismiss Zimbabwe batsman Sean Williams, although the Dubliner insisted that he had completed the catch legally.
“It is being brought into question, but I had the best seat in the house and, to my eyes, I didn’t touch the rope,” he told the Slog Sweep programme.