Ireland international Dec O’Donnell says it would be a dream come true if he gets to represent his heritage at this year’s World Cup.
The Workington hooker says he is disappointed to see Australia and New Zealand withdraw from the tournament, but hopes the World Cup will still go ahead this autumn.
Ireland were supposed to play New Zealand in the group stages as well as Jamaica and Lebanon.
“I was looking forward to the opportunity of possibly representing Ireland against New Zealand,” O’Donnell told Love Rugby League.
“A lot of people who grow up playing rugby want to play against New Zealand and face the Haka.
“Even when we talk about the World Cup I just get goosebumps thinking about it.
“I am in a position now where I could potentially represent the country of Ireland and my family in a World Cup. It is what you dream of a kid.”
O’Donnell was born and raised in Wigan but qualifies to play for Ireland through his family heritage, and has won four caps for the Wolfhounds so far.
He first got a call-up to play for Ireland from coach Stuart Littler just after he finished his time in Wigan’s academy.
“My family were buzzing for me when I first got the call-up to play for Ireland,” O’Donnell added.
“They were really proud. I had some setbacks at a younger age so to get that call-up was phenomenal. You can’t put it into words how good it was.
“To be able to play in a tournament with and against some of the best players in the game at the moment is a pinch me moment.”
O’Donnell has become a fans’ favourite at Workington since his move to Cumbria and says he is enjoying playing under Chris Thorman.
” I’m loving it at Workington,” he said. “It is exciting to see the good things that are going on at the club.
“We are not the biggest of groups but we are up there with the fittest. There is a lot of local talent at the club.
“Chris Thorman has been there and done it himself so he is always teaching me new things and the lads learn a lot from him.”