Ireland national rugby league team

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.

Ireland
Team information
NicknameWolfhounds
Governing bodyRugby League Ireland
RegionEurope
Head coachStuart Littler
CaptainLiam Finn
Most capsLiam Finn (32)
Top try-scorerStuart Littler (13)
Top point-scorerLiam Finn (170)
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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

World Cup Record World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position P W D L F A Pld W D L PF PA
1954 Did not enter Did not enter
1957
1960
1968
1970
1972
1975
1977
1985–88
1989–92
1995
2000 Quarter-finals Fifth place 4 3 0 1 94 64 Qualified as co-hosts
2008 Semi-final qualifier Fifth place 3 1 0 2 68 68 4 2 2 0 142 64
2013 Group stage 14th 3 0 0 3 14 124 Automatic qualifier
2017 Group stage 9th 3 2 0 1 76 32 2 2 0 0 116 22
2021 Qualified 2 2 0 0 67 12
2025 Qualified Automatic qualifier
Total Third place13607252288862032598

European Cup

  • Note these are the results of the cups that had a 'Final' game and beyond.
European Cup record
Year Round Position GP W L D
2003Group Stage3/32110
2004Second Place2/63210
2005Group Stage2/32110
2009Fourth Place4/63120
2010Fourth Place4/43030
2012Second Place2/32110
2014Third Place3/43210
2015Third Place3/43120
2018Third Place3/43120
Total0 Titles9/92410140

Triangular Series

[5]

Triangular Series
Year Round Position GP W L D
19991st Place1/32200
Total1 Title1/12200

Current squad

The 22-man national team squad selected for the first match day of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup European play-off tournament.[6]

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

Notable players

Coaches

  • Updated as of 10 November 2019
Name Nationality Tenure Matches Won Drew Lost Win %
Terry Flanagan1995 – 1996530260%
Steve O'Neill1997 – 1999531160%
Andy KellyMay 2000 – May 2011281321346.4%
Mark AstonMay 2011 – November 2017251301252%
Carl De Chenu (Interim)October 2016, June 2018210150%
Stuart LittlerSeptember 2018 – present530260%

Results

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

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

* As of 10 November 2019 [7]

Against Played Won Drawn Lost Win %
 Australia1001%
 Belgium1100100%
 Cook Islands1001%
 England3003%
England Knights2002%
 Fiji2002%
 France911711.1%
 Hungary1100100%
 Italy3300100%
 Jamaica1001%
 Lebanon3021%
 Malta2200100%
 Moldova1100100%
 Morocco1100100%
 Māori1100100%
 Papua New Guinea1001%
 Russia430175%
 Samoa2200100%
 Scotland14100471.4%
 Serbia2200100%
 Spain2200100%
 Tonga1001%
 United States2200100%
 Wales1040640%
Total703633151.4%

Records

Most capped players

#[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 FR

Most Tries

#[9] Name Career Caps Tries Position
1 Stuart Littler 2004-16 21 13 FB
2 Casey Dunne 2014-18 13 12 FB
3 Damien Blanch 2006-13 9 9 WG
Phil Cantillon 2003-06 7 9 HK
Karl Fitzpatrick 2003-09 13 9 FB


Most Points

#[10] Name Career Caps Tries Points Position
1 Liam Finn 2007-18 32 8 170 SO
2 Casey Dunne 2014-18 13 12 64 FB
James Kelly 2015-16 7 5 64 SO
4 Stuart Littler 2004-16 21 13 54 FB
5 Karl Fitzpatrick 2003-09 13 9 46 FB

Honours

  • 1999 Triangular Series

Ireland A

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

References

  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. "Triangular Series 1999". rugbyleagueproject. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  6. "Match day squads confirmed for European qualifiers for RLWC2021". Rugby League Planet. 20 October 2019.
  7. "Ireland". 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.

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