Ireland have named their train-on squad for this autumn’s final European qualifiers for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. The Wolfhounds are in pool A with Italy and Spain, the top two nations going through.
Young Wigan tyro Liam Byrne is again included alongside new Warrington signing Keenan Brand and recent Hull KR recruit Ethan Ryan, together with experienced Toronto trio Anthony Mullally, Bob Beswick – who will captain the side - and Liam Kay, as they prepare for the ‘Million Pound Game.’
Api Pewhairangi is recalled and there are 11 players included from the Irish domestic league, the bulk from Longhorns.
Head coach Stuart Littler commented: “Our squad has a youthful look to it with some added quality. We are excited as to what the future holds for Rugby League Ireland. The work done domestically this year has been exceptional and a real step forward. The World Cup is just around the corner and this tournament will assist with the future development and exposure of our players to the international environment.”
Beswick added: “I’m really looking forward to playing for Ireland again with the goal of World Cup qualification our focus. To be selected as captain is a surprise but I’ll do my best to carry on in the same direction that Liam Finn has pushed us over the last decade. Hopefully we can continue to develop the grassroots game. I look forward to working with everyone when we get over and getting down to work.”
IRELAND TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Lee Walsh (Athboy), Fiach Millward, Sam Cullen, Shane Kelly (Barrow Cudas, Carlow), Michael Ward (Batley), Joe Keyes (Bradford), Euan Tierein (Coventry Bears), Martyn Reilly (Dewsbury), Matthew Towey (Galway Tribesmen), Oliver Roberts, Ronan Michael (Huddersfield), Ethan Ryan (Hull KR), Gregg McNally (Leigh), Ben McKiernan, Graham OKeefe, James Mulvaney, Kevin Varga, Matt Connolly, Matthew Coade (Longhorns RL), Roland Podesta (Manly), Danny Bridge (Oldham), Api Pewhairangi (NZ Warriors), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford), James Bentley (St Helens), Frankie Halton (Swinton), Anthony Mullally, Bob Beswick, Liam Kay (Toronto), Jack Mackin (Tweed Head Seagulls), Jack O’Sullivan (University of Gloucestershire), George King (Wakefield), Keenan Brand, Pat Moran, Riley Dean (Warrington), Callum O'Neill, (Widnes), Liam Byrne (Wigan), Dec ODonnell (Workington)
POOL A FIXTURES
Spain v Ireland 26th Oct 5pm La Ciutat De L'esport, Ronda nord, s/n, 46800 Xàtiva, Valencia,
Italy v Spain 2nd Nov 4pm Stadio Communale G. Teghil Lignano
Ireland v Italy 9th Nov 7pm Morton Stadium Santry, Dublin