Ireland men's national rugby league team

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Ireland
Team information
Nickname Wolfhounds
Governing body Rugby League Ireland
Region Europe
Head coach Mark Aston
Captain Liam Finn
Most caps Bob Beswick (25)
Top try-scorer Phil Cantillon (12)
Top point-scorer Liam Finn (106)
Home stadium Carlisle Grounds, Bray
RLIF ranking 8th
Uniforms
First colours
Team results
First international
 United States 22–24 Ireland 
(Washington D.C., U.S.; 17 March 1995)
Biggest win
 Ireland 70–16 Russia 
(Bray, Ireland; 30 October 2016)
Biggest defeat
England England Knights 62–4 Ireland 
(St Helens, England;16 June 2012)
World Cup
Appearances 4 (first time in 2000)
Best result Quarter-finals 2000, 2008

The Ireland men's national rugby league team, known as the Wolfhounds, represents Ireland in international rugby league competitions. The team is organised by Rugby League Ireland. The representative team is dominated by players from the European Super League and sometimes includes players from the Australasian National Rugby League. Ireland is also represented by an Ireland A side, which is made up of players from the domestic Irish competition.

Since Ireland began competing in international rugby league in 1995, it has participated in the 1995 Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament, the 1996 Super League World Nines, and three Rugby League World Cups2000, 2008 and 2013. They have also competed in the Rugby League European Nations Cup and Victory Cup. Ireland A compete in the St Patrick's Day Challenge in the USA and in the Amateur Four Nations.

Irish players have in the past been selected to play for the Great Britain side, one recent example being Cork-born Brian Carney. However, since the Great Britain team was split into individual nations in 2007, it is unlikely that this situation will arise again.

History[edit]

The seeds of modern-day Rugby League in Ireland were sown in 1989 when Brian Corrigan founded the Dublin Blues, a club that was primarily used by union players to keep fit during the summer by playing matches against touring British teams. In 1995 the British RFL established Ireland's first development officer and later that year Ireland played against the United States in Washington on St Patricks Day with Ireland winning 24-22. Wigan Warriors player Joe Lydon came on as a substitute despite him being there as manager. Huddersfield Giants coach Terry Flanagan and former Great Britain international Niel Wood were the joint coaches. In August 1996 Ireland beat Scotland at the RDS Arena in Dublin as a curtain raiser to the charity shield match between Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors . Former Great Britain player Des Foy played for Ireland. Following their appearance at the 1995 Emerging Nations Tournament they were invited to the Super League World Nines in Fiji where they finished 8th. Prior to the tournament Ireland played a game of touch rugby against Australia in Fiji's National Stadium on 20 February going down 12-20. Later that year Ireland returned to the USA to play in the St Patrick's Day match winning 14-12[1]

Flags and anthems[edit]

The Four Provinces Flag of Ireland
England v Ireland 2013 RLWC

The Irish rugby league team is one of many Irish teams that draws its players from across the island of Ireland, it utilises the Four Provinces Flag of Ireland and the anthem "Ireland's Call".

1995 Emerging Nations Tournament[edit]

Ireland were included in the tournament held in England and were placed in Group 2 alongside Moldova and Morocco. Ireland beat Moldova 48-24 before beating Morocco 42-6 to progress to the final. Gigg Lane in Bury was the venue for the final against Cook Islands but Ireland lost 6-22. Coached by Terry Flanagan, Ireland's squad included professionals Des Foy and Martin Crompton in an otherwise domestic based squad

2000 World Cup[edit]

1997 saw more England-based Super League players making themselves available by use of the grandparent rule. The Irish team improved its standards but this development gave less opportunity for Irish-based players to get a chance to play. However, Irish-based players were included in the Irish squad for the triangular tournaments in 1998 against France and Scotland and 1999 against Scotland and Wales. Their success was enough to earn a place in the 2000 World Cup. Finishing top of their group, the Irish eventually lost 26–16 to England in the quarter-finals, but the performance set the scene for future developments in Ireland.

2008 World Cup[edit]

Ireland were drawn against Lebanon and Russia in Europe's 2008 Rugby League World Cup Qualifying Pool Two. Ireland topped the group with a 16–16 draw with Lebanon at Dewsbury on 2 November 2007. The draw meant Ireland qualified for the 2008 World Cup on points difference from Lebanon as both nations gained the same number of group points.

Ireland at the 2008 World Cup.

At the 2008 World Cup in Australia, Ireland were in Group C along with Tonga and Samoa. They lost to Tonga on 27 October in Parramatta, Sydney, but were victorious against Samoa, again in Parramatta, on 5 November and topped the group on points difference. As the group winners, they played Fiji, winners of Group B, for a chance to qualify for the semi-final. Fiji won 30–14 and so Ireland were eliminated.

2013 World Cup[edit]

For the 2013 World Cup being staged in England, Wales, France and Ireland. Ireland have been drawn in group A alongside Australia, England and 2008 World Cup rivals Fiji. Ireland have been granted automatic entry to the tournament due to their strong showing in the 2008 World Cup

Mark Aston the head coach and driving force behind the Sheffield Eagles as been confirmed as the head coach of Rugby League Ireland. His appointment was announced at a press conference in Sheffield on Tuesday 24 May 2011 and he is confirmed in the role for the World Cup in 2013.

2017 World Cup[edit]

Ireland kicked off their campaign with a shock 36-12 win over Italy in Cairns. In the next pool match Ireland lost a narrow match to PNG 14-6 with PNG needing a 78th minute try to win the game. Ireland's final pool match was against Wales in Perth where they ran out comfortable winners 34-6. Ireland did not progress to the next round of the tournament despite winning more games than Lebanon or Samoa who qualified for the last 8. [2][3][4]

Tournament History[edit]

The following tournaments is a list of notable international competitions that Ireland has been competing in since their existence in 1995. A red box around the year indicates tournaments played within Ireland

World Cup[edit]

World Cup Record World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position P W D L F A Pld W D L PF PA
France 1954 Did not enter Did not enter
Australia 1957
England 1960
AustraliaNew Zealand 1968
England 1970
France 1972
1975
AustraliaNew Zealand 1977
1985–88
1989–92
EnglandWales 1995
United KingdomIrelandFrance 2000 Quarter-finals Fifth place 4 3 0 1 94 64 Qualified as co-hosts
Australia 2008 Semi-final qualifier Fifth place 3 1 0 2 68 68 4 2 2 0 142 64
EnglandWalesIreland 2013 Group stage 14th 3 0 0 3 14 124 Automatic qualifier
AustraliaNew ZealandPapua New Guinea 2017 Group stage 9th 3 2 0 1 76 32 2 2 0 0 116 22
England 2021 To be determined To be determined
United StatesCanada 2025
Total Third place 13 6 0 7 252 288 6 4 2 0 258 86

Current squad[edit]

The Ireland national team squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[5]

Head coach: Mark Aston

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Points Club
Fullback Scott Grix (1984-05-01)1 May 1984 (aged 33) 14 16 Wakefield Trinity
Fullback Shannon McDonnell (1987-08-05)5 August 1987 (aged 30) 6 12 Camden Rams
Wing Casey Dunne (1984-11-25)25 November 1984 (aged 32) 8 12 Longhorns RL
Wing Liam Kay (1991-12-17)17 December 1991 (aged 25) 3 12 Toronto Wolfpack
Wing Alan McMahon 5 0 Waterford Vikings
Centre Ed Chamberlain (1996-02-08)8 February 1996 (aged 21) 3 0 Widnes Vikings
Centre Jack Higginson (1997-04-01)1 April 1997 (aged 20) 0 0 Wigan Warriors
Centre Michael Morgan (1995-01-21)21 January 1995 (aged 22) 2 4 Canterbury Bulldogs
Five-eighth Api Pewhairangi (1992-03-19)19 March 1992 (aged 25) 5 4 London Broncos
Halfback Liam Finn (c) (1983-11-02)2 November 1983 (aged 33) 24 102 Wakefield Trinity
Halfback James Kelly 5 0 Sheffield Eagles
Halfback Joseph Keyes (1995-09-17)17 September 1995 (aged 22) 6 0 Bradford Bulls
Prop Kyle Amor (1987-05-26)26 May 1987 (aged 30) 4 4 St. Helens
Prop Matty Hadden (1990-06-07)7 June 1990 (aged 27) 8 0 Rochdale Hornets
Prop James Hasson (1992-05-01)1 May 1992 (aged 25) 4 4 Wakefield Trinity
Prop Anthony Mullally (1991-06-28)28 June 1991 (aged 26) 6 0 Leeds Rhinos
Prop Brad Singleton (1992-10-29)29 October 1992 (aged 25) 3 0 Leeds Rhinos
Hooker Michael McIlorum (1988-01-10)10 January 1988 (aged 29) 6 4 Catalans Dragons
Second-row Tyrone McCarthy (1988-04-21)21 April 1988 (aged 29) 15 4 Salford Red Devils
Second-row Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (1986-01-14)14 January 1986 (aged 31) 3 4 St. Helens
Second-row Joe Philbin (1994-11-16)16 November 1994 (aged 22) 3 4 Warrington Wolves
Second-row Oliver Roberts (1995-12-24)24 December 1995 (aged 21) 5 8 Huddersfield Giants
Lock Will Hope (1993-06-02)2 June 1993 (aged 24) 9 12 Sheffield Eagles
Lock George King (1995-02-24)24 February 1995 (aged 22) 5 12 Warrington Wolves

Notable players[edit]

Coaches[edit]

  • Updated as of 12 November 2017
Name Nationality Tenure Matches Won Drew Lost
Terry Flanagan England 1995 - 1996 5 3 0 2
Steve O'Neill England 1997 - 1999 5 3 1 1
Andy Kelly England May 2000 - May 2011 25 10 2 13
Mark Aston England May 2011 – present 22 9 0 13

Results[edit]

Official Rankings as of July 2018
Rank Change* Team Pts%
1 Steady  Australia 100.0
2 Steady  New Zealand 72.7
3 Steady  England 70.4
4 Steady  Tonga 28.0
5 Steady  Fiji 25.8
6 Steady  Samoa 25.5
7 Steady  Scotland 24.5
8 Steady  France 18.3
9 Steady  Lebanon 13.9
10 Steady  Papua New Guinea 12.4
11 Steady  Ireland 10.6
12 Steady  Wales 8.0
13 Steady  Italy 7.4
14 Steady  United States 7.1
15 Steady  Jamaica 5.2
16 Increase 1  Canada 5.1
17 Decrease 1  Serbia 4.4
18 Steady  Malta 3.8
19 Increase 3  Norway 2.7
20 Decrease 1  Russia 2.6
21 Increase 8  Hungary 2.3
22 Decrease 1  Spain 2.3
23 Decrease 3  Belgium 2.3
24 Increase 2  Czech Republic 2.2
25 Steady  Ukraine 2.1
26 Decrease 3  Greece 1.9
27 Decrease 3  Philippines 1.9
28 Decrease 1  Netherlands 1.4
29 Increase 2  Sweden 1.4
30 Decrease 2  Germany 1.3
31 Decrease 1  Cook Islands 1.3
32 Rise 3  South Africa 1.3
33 Decrease 1  Chile 1.2
34 Decrease 1  Niue 1.1
35 Decrease 1  Denmark 0.8
36 Steady  Vanuatu 0.8
37 Steady  El Salvador 0.7
38 Steady  Thailand 0.7
39 Steady  Argentina 0.6
40 Steady  Colombia 0.6
41 Steady  Japan 0.4
42 Steady  Solomon Islands 0.4
43 Steady  Brazil 0.3
44 Steady  Uruguay 0.3
45 Steady  Hong Kong 0.2
46 Steady  Bulgaria 0.1
47 Steady  Latvia 0.1
48 Steady  Morocco 0.0
*Change from December 2017

Ireland has played in 54 internationals since its debut in 1995 winning 23 and losing 28 with 3 draws. Ireland have played 18 different teams over this 21-year period. As it is not a full member of the Rugby League International Federation, these matches are not considered to be tests. They compete in the Rugby League European Nations Cup and the Rugby League World Cup

Tallaght Stadium Rugby League Ireland defeat France in 2014 Rugby League European Championship

* As of 12 November 2017

Overall record[edit]

Against Played Won Drawn Lost
 Australia 1 0 0 1
 Cook Islands 1 0 0 1
 England 3 0 0 3
EnglandEngland Knights 2 0 0 2
 Fiji 2 0 0 2
 France 8 1 1 6
 Italy 1 1 0 0
 Jamaica 1 0 0 1
 Lebanon 3 0 2 1
 Malta 1 1 0 0
 Moldova 1 1 0 0
 Morocco 1 1 0 0
 Māori 1 1 0 0
 Papua New Guinea 1 0 0 1
 Russia 3 3 0 0
 Samoa 2 2 0 0
 Scotland 13 8 0 5
 Serbia 1 1 0 0
 Spain 1 1 0 0
 Tonga 1 0 0 1
 Wales 9 4 0 5
Total 57 25 3 29
Brian Carney was instrumental in Ireland's plan before his switch to rugby union

Ireland A[edit]

Ireland Wolfhounds logo

The Ireland A team is selected from players in the Irish domestic competition. This team is administered by Rugby League Ireland. The 'A' team competes each year in the Amateur Four Nations with England A, Scotland A and Wales A.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "history". www.rli.ie. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/41781248
  3. ^ http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/world-cup/png-scores-thrilling-win-over-ireland-sparking-incredible-scenes-in-papua-new-guinea/news-story/7438e1a31023a16bdd3f9635ff2e6e8d
  4. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/41954802
  5. ^ "Ireland announce World Cup squad". rlwc2017.com. 7 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Ireland's Morgan out to prove he's no namesake at Rugby League World Cup". adelaidenow.com.au. 21 October 2017.

External links[edit]