Irish Rugby League boss reveals from union players

Discussion in 'Super League / Northern Hemisphere' started by snoopy snoopy dog dog, May 1, 2008.

  1. Ireland have been approached by international rugby union players considering switching codes ahead of this year's Rugby League World Cup in Australia.

    The Irish-based players responded to a call from Ireland coach Andy Kelly to expand the pool of talent from which he will select his World Cup squad.

    Although Kelly will include at least five players from Ireland's growing domestic rugby league competition and a host of qualified England-based players, he is casting the net further in order to assemble a squad capable of competing with Tonga and Samoa in their World Cup group.

    Wigan's goalkicking winger Pat Richards and Melbourne prop Brett White are among the high-profile Australians to express an interest following Kelly's public plea.

    "We had a good response, including a number of Australian players who qualify quite legitimately and from a couple of Irish rugby union players," he said.

    "They've inquired not just about the World Cup but about rugby league as a career, which is quite exciting.

    "I can't name names because of the positions they're in with their own provinces but we're talking provincial and some attached, if not to the full international side, then to the Ireland A side."

    Ireland will announce a 40-man squad in August, with Kelly whittling it down to 24 for the actual tournament, which gets under way on October 25 when England play Papua New Guinea in Townsville.

    Ireland, who reached the quarter-finals in 2000, launch their campaign against Tonga in Parramatta two days later.

    "We're in the process of uncovering and researching all the players who may be available to us," added Kelly.

    "We've got to be open-minded. Sentiment will play a part but it can't be the whole picture. It's the balance of the squad that's important."

    Tournament rules mean teams must include a minimum of five locally-produced players in their final squad and Kelly believes that, by the time of the next scheduled World Cup in 2013, Ireland could be in a position to field a completely home-grown team.

    The number of teams in the Ireland domestic league has doubled to 16 over the last three years and organisers believe a five-year development programme funded by Leeds Metropolitan University, which was unveiled at Headingley today, will enable the 13-man game to blossom in the Emerald Isle.

    "Over the eight years that I've been involved, we've moved on from what were felt like token inclusions in the Ireland team to a serious proposition," added Kelly.

    "Instead of having rugby union players playing rugby league, we're now getting rugby league players and the skill levels have changed.

    "It's becoming feasible that the Ireland team will eventually be drawn from the Irish league."

    Rugby League Ireland (RLE) president Brian Corrigan, who helped launch the game in Dublin 20 years ago and unearthed Wigan and Great Britain winger Brian Carney, told a press conference today that rugby league is making significant progress in the country.

    "There is huge momentum," he said. "The game has got great profile in Ireland. It is not as unknown as you might think."

    Leeds Metropolitan University will put a significant six-figure sum into development, which will include backing for the 16-team Carnegie Premiership and a new Carnegie Student League.

    RLE international director Mike Callaghan also believes a Super League licence for Dublin remains a possibility in the long-term.

    "Super League is definitely a viable option over the next five to 10 years," he said. "Potentially we have a very strong case and that's the direction we want to go."
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  3. Vambo

    Vambo Guest

    Two Munster players interested allegedly although I gather they're not automatic picks at Munster.

    Good news about RL in Ireland. No one wants to see a team made up of Aussies & English.... home grown is the way to go with the addition of genuinely qualified others willing to commit to the cause for the long term.
  4. I'd hazard a guess that Brian Carney is one of them. He hasn't taken to Union as well as had been hoped. As for the other, who knows? I would have thought Ian Dowling might switch but he's forced his way back into their plans and is now the first choice left wing. Perhaps it's Barry Murphy (experienced, an international but down the pecking order), Kieran Lewis (who hasn't lived up to expectations since moving from Leinster) or Keith Earls (a phenomenal talent who hsn't been given a chance yet). Maybe if RLI forge closer ties with the IRFU more players could make the switch.

    I firmly believe that RLI should be targeting Union players. Despite what Brian Corrigan said, League doesn't have a very high profile in Ireland. The fact that Ireland qualified for the World Cup was barely mentioned in news reports. Domestic league results never get mentioned in sports bulletins nor in newspapers. Targeting established Union players (in the short term) who would be household names will boost the profile of the sport considerably.

    It's good to hear Mike Callaghan speaking about a Super League application for a Dublin franchise in the future. If RLI were to forge closer links with the IRFU and Leinster branch, the revamped Donnybrook could prove to be an ideal venue - once complete it will have a capacity of around 8000 (admittedly small by Super League standards but it could open up a new market for the league in Ireland) with the possibility of switching "glamour" ties to the RDS once the sport takes off. Such talk is in the medium term future though. About 10 years from now League may be able to "piggyback" on Union's rapidly growing support.
  5. fordage

    fordage Guest

    if anyone looking at this thread feels like they might be able to cut it in league let me know either on this forum or at my email, i'm the club recruitment officer for the dublin blues, a rugby league based in the city. Apart from the world cup proper there's also a student one taking place around the same time as well as lots of other rep teams, leinster, munster, student provincial sides and school boy teams that are all keen to get irish based players involved. Season starts late may so is a great way to stay sharp in the off season if nothing else.
  6. goranski

    goranski Guest

    i salute any hardass that plays rugby league in the offseason while i'm out downing pints...cheers :bonne-de:
  7. AC-ulster

    AC-ulster Guest

    This sounds good i hope to see rugby league grow in this country then maybe people we stop refusing to even hear about it. Good luck to the team in trhe world cup.

    Any news on who these players are?
  8. jeffb

    jeffb Guest

    Brian O'driscoll :p
  9. I did a bit of digging around other forums to see if any names were mentioned. Frank Sheahan and Anthony Horgan were the names I found although it hasn't been backed up by anybody else. If true, they aren't exactly great players but it would be a coup for RLI to bring in a pair of Heineken Cup winners who've represented their country in the not too distant past in Union.
  10. AC-ulster

    AC-ulster Guest

    I see well a couple of union players would be good to add a bit more strength and depth but hopefully the league as a whole can grow. Which no doubt will be helped with a good run in the world cup!
  11. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    I'm guessing one of them will be Carney. Maybe Niall Ronan?
  12. jeffb

    jeffb Guest

    Yeah, agree Carney might be one
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