Ireland national rugby league team

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Ireland
Badge of Ireland team
Team information
NicknameWolfhounds
Governing bodyRugby League Ireland
RegionEurope
Head coachStuart Littler
CaptainLiam Finn
Home stadiumCarlisle Grounds, Bray
Morton Stadium, Santry
RLIF ranking12th
Uniforms
First colours
Team results
First international
 Ireland 26–22 Scotland 
(RDS Arena, Dublin, Ireland; 13 August 1995)
Biggest win
 Ireland 82–0 Serbia 
(Tullamore, Ireland; 18 October 2009)
Biggest defeat
England England Knights 62–4 Ireland 
(St Helens, England;16 June 2012)
 Russia 64–6 Ireland 
(Moscow, Russia;16 May 2004)
World Cup
Appearances4 (first time in 2000)
Best resultQuarter-finals 2000, 2008

The Ireland men's national rugby league team, known as the Wolfhounds, is organised by Rugby League Ireland. The representative team is dominated by players from the 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 US 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.

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 1995 Ireland beat Scotland at the RDS Arena in Dublin as a curtain raiser to the charity shield match between Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors. The matches were played before an attendance of 5716, a record for an international rugby league match on Irish soil. 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 US 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 all-island anthem "Ireland's Call". Unlike the rugby union team from whom the anthem originates, the Irish rugby league team does not play Amhrán na bhFiann, the national anthem of the Irish state in addition to Ireland's Call when playing at home.

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 was 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]

Current squad[edit]

The 22-man national team squad selected for the first match day of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup European play-off tournament.[5]

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Fullback Gregg McNally (1991-01-02) 2 January 1991 (age 29) 11 34 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Centurions
Wing Roland Podesta (2000-01-01) 1 January 2000 (age 20) 0 0 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Centre Zack McComb (1995-09-09) 9 September 1995 (age 24) 0 0 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
Centre Ethan Ryan (1996-05-12) 12 May 1996 (age 24) 3 4 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
Stand-off Matthew Coade 1 22 Newcastle colours.svg Longhorns RL
Scrum-half Joe Keyes (1995-09-17) 17 September 1995 (age 24) 6 0 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
Prop Liam Byrne (1999-08-18) 18 August 1999 (age 20) 3 0 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Prop Frankie Halton (1996-06-18) 18 June 1996 (age 24) 0 0 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Lions
Prop Ronan Michael (2000-07-03) 3 July 2000 (age 19) 3 0 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
Prop Pat Moran (1998-04-02) 2 April 1998 (age 22) 0 0 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
Prop Michael Ward (1991-02-10) 10 February 1991 (age 29) 3 0 Batley colours.svg Batley Bulldogs
Hooker Bob Beswick (1984-12-08) 8 December 1984 (age 35) 25 12 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Thunder
Hooker Sam Cullen (2000-08-27) 27 August 2000 (age 19) 0 0 Cronulla colours.svg Barrowcudas, Carlow
Hooker Declan O'Donnell (1998-09-07) 7 September 1998 (age 21) 3 4 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town
Second-row Danny Bridge (1993-01-04) 4 January 1993 (age 27) 5 0 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
Second-row Tyrone McCarthy (1988-04-21) 21 April 1988 (age 32) 17 8 Redscolours.svg Salford Red Devils
Second-row James Mulvaney (2000-06-23) 23 June 2000 (age 20) 0 0 Newcastle colours.svg Longhorns RL
Second-row Martyn Reilly 0 0 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Rams
Second-row Oliver Roberts (1994-12-24) 24 December 1994 (age 25) 8 20 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
Loose forward James Bentley (1996-10-19) 19 October 1996 (age 23) 3 4 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
Loose forward George King (1995-02-24) 24 February 1995 (age 25) 8 16 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity
Loose forward Matthew Towey (1992-01-01) 1 January 1992 (age 28) 0 0 Mackay Cutters colours.svg Galway Tribesmen

Coaches[edit]

  • Updated as of 10 November 2019
Name Tenure Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
England Terry Flanagan 1995–1996 5 3 0 2 60%
England Steve O'Neill 1997–1999 5 3 1 1 60%
England Andy Kelly 2000–2011 28 13 2 13 46.43%
England Mark Aston 2011– 2017 25 13 0 12 52%
Republic of Ireland Carl De Chenu (Interim) October 2016, June 2018 2 1 0 1 50%
Republic of Ireland Stuart Littler 2018–present 5 3 0 2 60%

Competitive record[edit]

Ireland made its international rugby league debut in 1995 with a victory over Scotland 26-22 in the RDS Arena. They compete in the Rugby League European Nations Cup and have participated in the Rugby League World Cup.

Overall record[edit]

* As of 10 November 2019 [6]

Against Played Won Drawn Lost Win % For Aga Diff
 Australia 1 0 0 1 0% 0 50 –50
 Belgium 1 1 0 0 100% 34 0 +34
 Cook Islands 1 0 0 1 0% 6 22 –16
 England 3 0 0 3 0% 28 104 –76
England England Knights 2 0 0 2 0% 8 118 –110
 Fiji 2 0 0 2 0% 28 62 –34
 France 9 1 1 7 11.11% 172 295 –123
 Hungary 1 1 0 0 100% 70 0 +70
 Italy 3 3 0 0 100% 121 42 +79
 Jamaica 1 0 0 1 0% 16 68 –52
 Lebanon 3 0 2 1 0% 50 74 –24
 Malta 2 2 0 0 100% 92 32 +60
 Moldova 1 1 0 0 100% 48 26 +22
 Morocco 1 1 0 0 100% 42 6 +36
 Māori 1 1 0 0 100% 30 16 +14
 Papua New Guinea 1 0 0 1 0% 6 14 –8
 Russia 4 3 0 1 75% 184 110 +74
 Samoa 2 2 0 0 100% 64 32 +32
 Scotland 14 10 0 4 71.43% 299 255 +44
 Serbia 2 2 0 0 100% 106 16 +90
 Spain 2 2 0 0 100% 88 14 +74
 Tonga 1 0 0 1 0% 20 22 –2
 United States 2 2 0 0 100% 98 38 +60
 Wales 10 4 0 6 40% 199 253 –54
Total 70 36 3 31 51.43% 1809 1669 +140

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
England 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
EnglandWales2013 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 Qualified 2 2 0 0 67 12
United StatesCanada 2025 Qualified Automatic qualifier
Total Third place 13 6 0 7 252 288 8 6 2 0 325 98

European Championship[edit]

  • Note these are the results of the cups that had a 'Final' game and beyond.
European Championship record
Year Round Position GP W L D
2003 Group Stage 3/3 2 1 1 0
2004 Second Place 2/6 3 2 1 0
2005 Group Stage 2/3 2 1 1 0
2009 Fourth Place 4/6 3 1 2 0
2010 Fourth Place 4/4 3 0 3 0
2012 Second Place 2/3 2 1 1 0
2014 Third Place 3/4 3 2 1 0
2015 Third Place 3/4 3 1 2 0
2018 Third Place 3/4 3 1 2 0
2020 Qualified
Total 0 Titles 9/9 24 10 14 0

Triangular Series[edit]

[7]

Triangular Series
Year Round Position GP W L D
1999 1st Place 1/3 2 2 0 0
Total 1 Title 1/1 2 2 0 0

Rankings[edit]

Official Men's Rankings as of November 2019
Rank Change* Team Pts%
1 Increase 2  New Zealand
2 Decrease 1  Australia
3 Decrease 1  England
4 Steady  Tonga
5 Steady  Fiji
6 Increase 4  Papua New Guinea
7 Steady  Samoa
8 Decrease 2  France
9 Decrease 1  Scotland
10 Decrease 1  Lebanon
11 Increase 5  Greece
12 Steady  Ireland
13 Increase 1  Italy
14 Decrease 3  Wales
15 Increase 4  Serbia
16 Increase 1  Malta
17 Increase 1  Norway
18 Decrease 3  United States
19 Increase 4  Poland
20 Decrease 7  Jamaica
21 Decrease 1  Hungary
22 Increase 3  Czech Republic
23 Increase 5  Cook Islands
24 Increase 7  Turkey
25 Decrease 1  Netherlands
26 Increase 4  Spain
27 Decrease 6  Canada
28 New entry  Nigeria
29 Decrease 2  Solomon Islands
30 Increase 10  Sweden
31 Increase 4  Germany
32 Increase 1  Chile
33 New entry  Ghana
34 Increase 16  Morocco
35 Decrease 3  Vanuatu
36 Steady  South Africa
37 Decrease 8  Russia
38 New entry  Cameroon
39 Decrease 2  Ukraine
40 Increase 1  Colombia
41 Increase 4  Brazil
42 Steady  Belgium
43 Increase 4  Denmark
44 Increase 4  Bulgaria
45 Increase 4  Latvia
*Change from July 2019

Records[edit]

  • As of 8 February 2020

Most capped players[edit]

#[8] Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 Liam Finn 2007–18 32 8 SO
2 Bob Beswick 2006–15 27 3 HK
3 Scott Grix 2006–18 22 8 FB
4 Stuart Littler 2004–16 21 13 FB
5 Luke Ambler 2009–16 20 6 FW

Most Tries[edit]

#[9] Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 Stuart Littler 2004–16 21 13 FB
2 Damien Blanch 2006–13 9 9 WG
Phil Cantillon 2003–06 7 9 HK
Karl Fitzpatrick 2003–09 13 9 FB

Most Points[edit]

#[10] Name Career Caps Tries Points Position
1 Liam Finn 2007–18 32 8 170 SO
2 James Kelly 2015–16 7 5 64 SO
3 Stuart Littler 2004–16 21 13 54 FB
4 Karl Fitzpatrick 2003–09 13 9 46 FB

Honours[edit]

  • 1999 Triangular Series

Notable players[edit]

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". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  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. ^ "Match day squads confirmed for European qualifiers for RLWC2021". Rugby League Planet. 20 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Ireland". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Triangular Series 1999". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Ireland". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Ireland". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Ireland". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 23 November 2019.

External links[edit]