Journalism The Independent Gender

Storm erupts over Sunday Independent's 'stereotyped' article on women's rugby

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

August 11, 2014 | 3 min read

A row has erupted over an article about women’s rugby published by Ireland’s Sunday Independent after rugby club Railway Union RFC said it was “disappointed” with the sport being “reduced to stereotyping”.

Controversy: The Sunday Independent's article is also online

The statement followed a Twitter storm and a stream of angry comments left by readers on the Sunday Independent’s website which described the article as “farcical” and “insulting”.

In the piece, writer Niamh Horan described a trip to a training session for the women’s rugby side.

It began: “As I bent over with a blonde’s hand slipping around the top of my thigh, I pondered how there are worse ways to burn calories on a sleepy Thursday evening. Now usually I’d make someone buy me dinner before getting into this position.”

She continued: “I was sandwiched – cheek to cheek – between two other girls, so I had to turn around to see her demonstrate how she would cling to a girl’s shorts just below her crotch. This could well be the most action I’ve gotten in weeks.”

Horan went on to "shatter misconceptions" about women in rugby by saying: “These are not butch, masculine, beer-swilling, men-hating women. They are fit, toned, effortlessly pretty players who love nothing more than getting dolled up for the evening – and that’s just to step on the field.”

In a statement published on Facebook, Railway Union RFC said it was “disappointed” by the coverage.

“We were requested by the IRFU to facilitate a journalist from the Sunday Independent who wanted to do a training session and a feature on women’s rugby in light of Ireland’s world cup heroics,” the statement said.

“We are disappointed that what could have been a hugely positive article promoting women’s rugby in Ireland at time of such achievement internationally has been reduced to stereotyping.

“The article in no way reflects our sport, its values and the values of our club and members. Our club’s primary goal is always the promotion of rugby, regardless of gender, and we support all teams in the club equally.”

According to, writer Horan said she was “surprised” at the reaction to the story and said she will respond in the Sunday Independent’s pages next week.

The Drum was awaiting a response from the Sunday Independent at time of publication.

Journalism The Independent Gender

More from Journalism

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +