Ireland national rugby league team

Ireland national rugby league team

Infobox rugby league nation
Name = Ireland
Badge = News_default.gif
Badge_size = 100px
Nickname =
Association = Rugby League Ireland
Region = Europe
Coach = flagicon|Ireland Andy Kelly
Captain = flagicon|Ireland Karl Fitzpatrick
Most caps =
Top scorer =
Home Stadium =
RLIF Rank = 9th
First game = flagicon|USA USA 22 - 24 Ireland flagicon|Ireland|4prov (Washington, USA; 17 March 1995)
Largest win = flagicon|USA USA 6 - 64 Ireland flagicon|Ireland|4prov (Dublin, Ireland; 10 May 2004
Largest loss = flagicon|Russia Russia 64 - 6 Ireland flagicon|Ireland|4prov (Dublin, Ireland; 16 May 2004)
World cup apps = 1
World cup first = 2000
World cup best = Quarter-finals, 2000
The Ireland national rugby league team, is the professional rugby league team representing Ireland. The professional team is dominated by players from Super League and sometimes includes players from the Australian NRL. Ireland is also represented by the Ireland A Wolfhounds 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 Emerging Nations Tournament (1995), Super League World Nines (1996), World Cup (2000 and 2008), European Nations Cup (since 2003) and Victory Cup (2004). The Ireland A Wolfhounds compete annually in the Amateur Four Nations competition (since 2002) and the St Patrick's Day Challenge (1995-2004).

Phil Coles, a former Newcastle Knights colt and John Sharpe, a rugby union convert, are examples of amateur players to have competed in all of these competitions for Ireland. Irish players have also been selected to play for the Great Britain side, one recent example being Cork-born Brian Carney.

World Cup 2008

"See also 2008 Rugby League World Cup qualifying"

Ireland faced Lebanon and Russia in Europe 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.

At the World Cup in Australia, Ireland are in Group C along with Tonga and Samoa. They face Tonga on 27 October in Parramatta, Sydney, then they are up against Samoa, again in Parramatta on 5 November. The group winners will play the winners of Group B at Skilled Park, Gold Coast, to qualify for the semi-final.


Ireland formed its very first competitive team to play against the USA in Washington on St. Patrick's Day in 1995. Ireland won 24-22 with Wigan legend Joe Lydon coming on as a replacement. He had gone to the US as a manager but was drafted in to play. Terry Flanagan, Huddersfield coach and former Great Britain player, along with Niel Wood, Director of British Student Rugby League, coached the team. In August 1995 Ireland beat Scotland at the RDS in Dublin. The game was played as a curtain raiser to the British Charity Shield encounter between Wigan and Leeds. The Irish team that day included former Great Britain player Des Foy. These two victories ensured that Ireland were included in the Emerging Nations World Cup in the Autumn of 1995. Coached again by Flanagan and Wood, the Ireland team beat Moldova and Morocco but lost 22-6 to the Cook Islands in the final held at Gigg Lane, Bury in England. In February 1996 a Senior Irish squad travelled to Fiji to participate in the Inaugural Super League World Nines. Ireland managed to finish 8th out of 16 nations. During the tournament Ireland played Japan, France, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga. Following discussions between Mal Meninga and Ireland's Niel Wood (this was actually a game of touch football as final preparation for the Nines Tournament which started the next day), an unofficial 'test' was organised between Ireland and the World Champions, Australia on 20 February 1996. The match was played at the Fiji National Stadium and was won by Australia 20-12. Australians playing that day included: Laurie Daley (Capt.), Ricky Stuart, Andrew Ettinghausen, Brett Mullins, Wendell Sailor, Jason Hetherington, Simon Gillies, Robbie Beckett, Mark Geyer and Steve Renouf. In 1996 a second St. Patrick's Day match was played against the USA. Try scorers that day were Tom McCabe and Des Foy. Phelim Comerford kicked 3 goals to ensure another 2 point victory by 14-12. In August 1996 the Ireland team lined out against Scotland and were beaten 26-6. Both teams fielded a few professionals: Scotland included Alan Tait, Matt Crowther, Danny Russell and Darren Shaw.

The Ireland team included Martin Crompton, James Lowes and Bernard Dwyer. The rest of the Irish team was made up of a few professionals from the lower divisions in England, a couple of ex-professionals, a few amateurs from the English amateur leagues and players from the fledgling Irish domestic competition. 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 Squad



Ireland has played in 22 full internationals, winning 14 and losing 7 with 1 draw. As it is not a full member of the Rugby League International Federation, these matches are not considered to be tests. Ireland has also played friendlies against Australia and Scotland that are not included in these results.

* Wales def. Ireland 31-10 (30/10/2005)
* Ireland def. Scotland 12-6 (23/10/2005)
* England A def. Ireland 36-12 (7/11/2004)
* Ireland def. Scotland 43-10 (29/10/2004)
* Ireland def. Wales 25-12 (17/10/2004)
* Russia def. Ireland 64-6 (16/5/2004)
* Ireland def. USA 74-16 (10/5/2004)
* Ireland def. Scotland 24-22 (26/10/2004)
* France def. Ireland 26-18 (11/1/2003)
* France def. Ireland 56-16 (26/6/2001)
* England def. Ireland 26-16 (11/11/2000) Quarter Final of 2000 World Cup
* Ireland def. New Zealand Māori 30-16 (4/11/2000) 2000 World Cup
* Ireland def. Scotland 18-6 (1/11/2000) 2000 World Cup
* Ireland def. Samoa 30-16 (28/10/2000) 2000 World Cup
* Ireland def. Scotland 31-10 (31/10/1999)
* Ireland def. Wales 24-17 (15/10/1999)
* Ireland def. Scotland 17-10 (18/11/1998)
* France def. Ireland 24-22 (4/11/1998)
* Ireland drew with France 30-30 (13/5/1997)
* Cook Islands def. Ireland 10-6 (24/10/1995)
* Ireland def. Morocco 42-6 (24/10/1995)
* Ireland def. Moldova 48-26 (16/10/1995)

Ireland A Wolfhounds

The Ireland A Wolfhounds team is selected from players in the Irish domestic competition. This team is administered by Rugby League Ireland.

* Scotland A def. Ireland A 42-16 (14/8/2005)
* Wales A def. Ireland A 18-10 (16/7/2005)
* Ireland A def. England Amateur "Lionhearts" 28-8(3/7/2005)
* Scotland A def. Ireland A 24-16 (22/8/2004)
* USA def. Ireland A 41-10 (24/3/2004)
* Scotland A def. Ireland A 48-20 (9/8/2003)
* Ireland A def. Wales A 32-28 (21/6/2003)
* USA def. Ireland A 20-16 (15/3/2003)
* Ireland A def. Scotland A 70-10 (18/8/2003)
* England Amateur "Lionhearts" def. Ireland A 32-10 (16/6/2002)
* USA def. Ireland A 24-22 (16/3/2002)
* Ireland A def. Scotland A 28-10 (11/9/2001)
* USA def. Ireland A 19-6 (18/3/2000)
* Ireland A def. Scotland A 21-16 (30/5/1998)
* Ireland A def. Scotland A 25-18 (25/10/1997)
* Ireland A def. USA 26-6 (16/3/1996)
* Ireland A def. USA 24-22 (16/3/1995)

ee also

* Rugby league in Ireland
* European Nations Cup
* Emerging Nations Tournament
* World Cup
* Rugby League Ireland

Notable former players

*Kevin Campion
*Phil Cantillon
*Brian Carney
*Gary Connolly
*Francis Cummins
*Ian Dowling
*Bernard Dwyer
*Des Foy
*Tim Jonkers
*Chris Joynt

*James Lowes
*Tommy Martyn
*Barrie McDermott
*Shayne McMenemy
*Terry O'Connor
*Steve Prescott
*Luke Ricketson
*Danny Williams
*Michael Withers

External links

* [ Home page of Rugby League Ireland]
* [ Google-Video]
* [ Ireland Rugby League Fans Forums -]
* [ 2008 Rugby League World Cup Site]

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