Local Name: All-Ireland
Nicknames: The Wolfhounds
Colours: Green and White
First WC Appearance: 2000
No. Of RLWC Titles: 0
Ireland Rugby League Test Match Previews and Score Predictions
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Ireland Rugby League
Rugby League in Ireland took a hug step forward with the formation of the Dublin Blues club tam in 1989 and since then the domestic competition as expanded across all of Ireland with 20 teams now playing the summer season.
The Irish national team made their debut in the 2000 World cup, but it was in the 2008 World Cup where the Irish started to take the Rugby League team to their hearts as the Wolfhounds reached the quarter finals
Thanks to an increased international calendar, the Irish national team now get to play more matches and against a higher calibre of opposition. That can only help the Ireland Rugby League Test Team and that intern of course helps the sport as a whole.
The most famous Irish born Rugby League player too many fans nowadays is former Gateshead, Hull, Wigan and Great Britain winger Brian Carney who showed the potential of Irish players and although he represented Great Britain at International level, thanks to an improved international calendar new Irish born players coming through will be able to represent their country.
In recent times, there has been a big movement in Ireland to include a number of home grown players who ply their trade in Ireland in the national team who along with England based players and heritage players from Australia are giving the Irish national test side a unique feel and a togetherness that many tests sides cannot match. This mix also gives them a unique playing style which makes them unpredictable and a challenge for the other Rugby League Test Nations.
Colours and Kit
As you would expect from a representative side for Ireland, the main colours are green and white with their playing shirts predominately green.
As a relatively new country and one that has often suffered during the Great Britain era for players committing to other nations, it is perhaps no surprise that the country has had little success on the international stage with the 1999 Triangular Series been their first, and to date, only title winning success.
There have been a number of players who have represented Ireland due to their strong Irish heritage, who have then gone onto represent the big 3 countries including the likes of Mick Cassidy, Gary Connolly, Barrie McDermott, Terry O’Connor, Joe Philbin and Ryan Sheridan who have also represented Great Britain as well as Luke Ricketson, Brett White and Pat Richards who all also represented Australia but in all honesty, there is one players who stands out heads and shoulders as Ireland biggest Rugby League star and that is Brian Carney.
The young Carney, born in the city of Cork, grew up playing Gaelic Football and Rugby Union at school but after trying out for the Dublin Blues, his skills in the 13 man code were clear to see.
After impressing at the home international tournament for the Irish school team, he was picked up by the Gateshead Thunder and then went on to enjoy a strong career playing for Hull FC, Wigan Warriors, Newcastle Knights and the Warrington Wolves as well as for Great Britain after the rules were changes just so he could feature.
Rugby League in Ireland in the modern era is mostly down to Brian Corrigan, when in 1989, he formed the Dublin Blues Rugby League side and although in the early year sit was a team that featured Rugby Union players who toured England during the other codes off-season, the seeds were sown for the sport to take a small but significant place on the Irish sporting scene.
The country now has a small and still amateur competition but that does allow the country to feature a number of home grown players in their international squads to play alongside heritage players from across the Irish Sea.
The team represents both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as an all-Island team and so they have played a number of home games in both the North and South.
The countries first ever international came in 1995 when they headed across the Atlantic to take on the united States of America in Washington on St Patrick Days and even better, they ran out 24-22 winners in an exciting game but sadly neither side has really capitalised on that match up.
After appearing at the 1995 Emerging Nations Tournament and at the World Nines in Fiji, they made the big step up by qualifying for and competing at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup, where they performed well and reached the quarter-final stage.
That was a feat that they matched in 2008 as the country have now become a well established Rugby League test nation and a regular performer on the biggest stage of them all.
The Ireland Wolfhounds have also enjoy success in the European Championship alongside their strong performances on the world stage but although they have finished as runners up in both 2004 and 2012, they have yet to take that extra step and come away with the win but their performances have helped them to progress in qualifications process for RLWC and now with a great mix of Super League, Championship and domestic players, that great run in both European and also World competitions, should see them continue to improve and hopefully that sees improvement in the Irish domestic scene.