Ireland national rugby league team

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Ireland
Badge of Ireland team
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 (10)
Top point-scorer Liam Finn (106)
Home stadium Carlisle Grounds Bray
RLIF ranking 6th
Colours
First international
 United States 22–24 Ireland 
(Washington D.C., US; 17 March 1995)
Biggest win
 United States 6–64 Ireland 
(Dublin, Ireland; 10 May 2004)
Biggest defeat
 Russia 64–6 Ireland 
(Dublin, Ireland; 16 May 2004)
World Cup
Appearances 3 (first time in 2000)
Best result Quarter-finals 2000, 2008

The Ireland national rugby league team, known as the Wolfhounds, represents the whole country of Ireland in rugby league football. 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]

Further information: 2000 Rugby League World Cup

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.

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
Year Round Position GP W L D
United KingdomFranceRepublic of Ireland 2000 Quarter-finals 5/16 4 3 1 0
Australia 2008 Quarter-finals 5/10 3 1 2 0
EnglandFranceRepublic of IrelandWales 2013 Group stage 14/14 3 0 3 0
AustraliaNew Zealand 2017 To Be Determined
Total 0 Titles 3/13 10 4 6 0

Four Nations[edit]

Four Nations record
Year Round Position GP W L D
EnglandFrance 2009 Failed to Qualify
AustraliaNew Zealand 2010 Not Invited
EnglandWales 2011 Failed to Qualify
AustraliaNew Zealand 2014 Not Invited
EnglandScotland 2016 Failed to Qualify
Total 0 Titles 0/5 0 0 3 0

European Cup[edit]

European Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
2003 Group stage 5/6 2 1 1 0
2004 Second Place 2/6 3 2 1 0
FranceGeorgia (country)Republic of IrelandRussiaScotlandWales 2005 Group Stage 3/6 2 1 1 0
Republic of IrelandItalyLebanonScotlandSerbiaWales 2009 Group Stage 4/6 2 1 1 0
FranceRepublic of IrelandScotlandWales 2010 Group Stage 4/4 3 0 3 0
Republic of IrelandScotland 2012 Second Place 2/3 2 1 1 0
EnglandFranceRepublic of IrelandScotlandWales 2014 Group Stage 3/4 3 2 1 0
FranceRepublic of IrelandScotlandWales 2015 Group Stage 3/4 3 1 2 0
Total 0 Titles 20 9 11 0

Current squad[edit]

The Ireland national team squad selected for the 2015 European Cup tournament.[2] (caps and points apply for after the tournament began):

Other Nat. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
England Fullback Scott Grix (1984-05-01) 1 May 1984 (age 32) 14 16 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
England Wing Callum Mulkeen (1990-12-10) 10 December 1990 (age 25) 5 4 Oxfordcolours.png Tumut Blues
England Wing Casey Dunne 6 10 Ireland colours.svg Athboy Longhorns
England Centre Bradley Hargreaves (1993-12-13) 13 December 1993 (age 22) 4 20 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets
England Centre James Mendeika (1991-12-16) 16 December 1991 (age 24) 8 0 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
England Stand-off Liam Finn (Captain) (1983-11-02) 2 November 1983 (age 32) 24 102 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers
England Halfback Ben Johnston (1992-03-08) 8 March 1992 (age 24) 5 0 Faxcolours.svg Halifax RLFC
England Halfback Gregg McNally (1991-01-02) 2 January 1991 (age 25) 8 30 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions
England Halfback Joseph Keyes (1995-09-17) 17 September 1995 (age 20) 3 0 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos
Ireland Prop Matty Hadden (1990-06-07) 7 June 1990 (age 26) 8 0 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets
England Prop Sean Hesketh (1986-08-17) 17 August 1986 (age 30) 8 16 Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs
England Prop Luke Ambler (1989-12-18) 18 December 1989 (age 26) 17 24 Faxcolours.svg Halifax RLFC
England Prop Colton Roche (1993-06-23) 23 June 1993 (age 23) 2 0 Yorkcolours.svg York City Knights
Ireland Prop Gareth Gill 1 0 Northern Ireland Ballynahinch Rabbitohs
England Second-row Danny Bridge (1993-01-04) 4 January 1993 (age 23) 5 0 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets
England Second-row Will Hope 6 4 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Roughyeds
England Second-row Elliot Cosgrove 10 0 Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs
England Second-row Oliver Roberts (1995-12-24) 24 December 1995 (age 20) 3 0 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
England Second-row Graham O’Keeffe 3 0 Oxfordcolours.png Oxford RLFC
England Second-row Dave Allen (1985-09-15) 15 September 1985 (age 30) 9 4 Haven colours.svg Whitehaven RLFC
England Lock Bob Beswick (Vice-Captain) (1984-12-08) 8 December 1984 (age 31) 25 12 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions

Notable players[edit]

Coaches[edit]

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 15 4 0 11

Results[edit]

Official Rankings as of June 2016[3]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 855.00
2  Australia 751.00
3  England 655.00
4  Samoa 280.00
5  France 209.00
6  Ireland 162.00
7  Fiji 149.00
8  Wales 132.00
9  Scotland 121.00
10  United States 101.00
11 Increase  Papua New Guinea 78.00
12 Decrease  Serbia 70.00
13  Italy 65.00
14  Canada 62.00
15 Increase  Tonga 58.00
16 Decrease  Russia 45.00
17 Steady  Belgium 40.00
18  Malta 32.00
19 Increase  Cook Islands 29.00
20 Steady  Lebanon 29.00
21  Spain 26.00
22 Decrease  Germany 23.00
23 Steady  Ukraine 21.00
24  Greece 21.00
25  Denmark 20.00
26  Norway 19.00
27  Jamaica 16.00
28 Increase  Sweden 15.00
29  Czech Republic 14.00
30 Decrease  Netherlands 14.00
31 Steady  South Africa 13.00
32 Increase  Philippines 9.00
33 Decrease  Niue 4.00
34  Hungary 2.00
35  Latvia 2.00
36  Morocco 0.00

Ireland has played in 50 internationals since its debut in 1995 winning 20 and losing 27 with 3 draws. 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

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
 Lebanon 3 0 2 1
 Moldova 1 1 0 0
 Morocco 1 1 0 0
 Māori 1 1 0 0
 Russia 2 2 0 0
 Samoa 2 2 0 0
 Scotland 13 8 0 5
 Serbia 1 1 0 0
 Tonga 1 0 0 1
 Wales 8 3 0 5
Total 50 20 3 27
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. 
  2. ^ "Ireland name strong squad for European Championship". rlef.eu.com. 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  3. ^ RLIF Rankings.

External links[edit]