Cliodhna Moloney believes Ireland can redeem themselves following a heavy defeat to France last Saturday and finish the 2021 Women’s Six Nations on a high this weekend by claiming third place at Italy’s expense.
Adam Griggs’ side had been riding high going into the French game at Dublin’s Energia Park following a 45-0 opening-round win over Wales in Cardiff seven days previously but the visitors’ semi-professional status soon told against Ireland’s amateurs with France progressing to this Saturday’s final against England on the back of a resounding 56-15 win.
Moloney struck a defiant tone yesterday as she looked forward to facing Italy and insisted Ireland’s momentum could not be derailed by the loss to France.
“No we won’t be (derailed),” Moloney said as she promoted Guinness’s Never Settle campaign to promote the visibility of women’s sport. “We are not measured by any one loss or win.
“We overemphasised the win (over Wales) and didn’t really focus on maybe where there were still some errors in that performance.
We’ve still got hugely talented players and still got hugely talented young players coming through, the likes of Dorothy Wall and Beibhinn Parsons have been mentioned again and again and again but this isn’t to dampen their talent.
“We still have a very talented squad, we’re still capable of qualifying for the World Cup and we’re still capable of performing at the World Cup and we’re still capable of beating Italy next Saturday in Donnybrook. That’s not a part of that at all.
“I think it’s just about getting the measure right, getting the measure of confidence and then actually execution under pressure. That’s probably where we’ve fallen off and that’s not really through anyone’s fault, it’s just, you know, we haven’t had enough Test rugby, we haven’t had enough Test-game pressure recently but nobody has.
“We’ve got to be very clued in this weekend. Italy will be looking for the win obviously and they’ll be looking to lay down a marker in terms of qualification and going forward. They are performing quite well in this Six Nations.”
The Wasps hooker is certain that the problems which surfaced against France can be fixed.
“Absolutely, it’s redeemable and we can put in a performance at the weekend and beat Italy and that is what we’re aiming to do. I think the whole squad now is over the France game in that they have taken their learnings, we know where we went wrong, we know where we made our errors in the lead-up, we know where we made our errors in the game and we’re ready to rectify them.”