Belfast Telegraph

Hack attack on Irish star John Mooney just not cricket

By Ger Keville

A Zimbabwean journalist who wrote a scurrilous article referring to Ireland star John Mooney as an "alcoholic" has described the Irish cricket authorities' reaction to the piece as a "vicious attack".

An article in last Monday's Zimbabwean Herald, which questioned Mooney's integrity and honesty, ran with the headline: 'Alcoholic dumps Zim out of WC'.

It came two days after Mooney's match-changing catch helped send the African nation out of the World Cup.

The piece, written by Robson Sharuko, described Mooney as "a recovering alcoholic, who was so depressed last year he even contemplated killing himself".

Last year, Mooney opened up about his battle with alcohol and depression.

Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor yesterday offered his apologies to Mooney, saying on Twitter: "On behalf of the Zimbabwe cricket team. We just want to express our apologies to @Irelandcricket and John Mooney for the unacceptable article."

But yesterday, the same journalist has described Cricket Ireland's response as a "vicious attack".

"The dramatic fallout to Ireland's controversial win over Zimbabwe continued to play out with Irish cricket authorities launching a vicious attack on the Herald for questioning all-rounder John Mooney's honesty in the wake of his ghost catch that knocked the Chevrons out of the World Cup," he wrote.

The article also goes on to quote how the Irish media reported the backlash while ignoring the fact that the Zimbabwe cricket team had issued an apology and condemned Monday's article as "disgraceful". The Zimbabwean Herald is a state-owned newspaper and Robson Shakuro has a chequered past following his life-time ban by the Zimbabwe Football Association for his role in a match-fixing scandal involving the Zimbabwe national soccer team losing matches in Asia.

Cricket Ireland (CI) were damning in their condemnation of the story earlier this week.

"In relation to the story that has appeared in the Zimbabwe Herald, it would be easy to dismiss it as a childish diatribe if it wasn't for the vicious personal attack on John which cannot pass without comment, and possible action," Warren Deutrom said in the CI statement.

"John represents his country with honour, distinction and integrity... We have made contact with ICC to understand what remedies might be available to us."

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