History-maker Ged Corcoran the perfect man to take Ireland forward

Ireland 2017 Rugby League World Cup PA Ged Corcoran

History-making head coach Ged Corcoran is the right man to put Ireland on the rugby league map, according to hooker Dec O’Donnell.

The 39-year-old has become the first Irish-born head coach of the Ireland side, having been born and bred in County Offaly.

Corcoran, who won 11 caps during his playing days, has taken over the coaching reins from Stuart Littler.

“Ged is spot on,” O’Donnell told Love Rugby League. “He has been involved in the Ireland set-up for god knows how long.

“It is testament to himself that he’s stuck around and he’s done his apprenticeship. He knows the game of rugby and it is a pleasure to have him as a head coach.

“He is always touching base with me. He’ll always take responsibility and checking in with you. He is a real good person more than anything and he has brought Joe O’Callaghan from Australia who is going to add heaps of experience having worked for the Rabbitohs. It all seems exciting and it feels like good things are coming.”

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Proud Irishmen

Corcoran wants his players to learn more about their culture, heritage and where they come from ahead of this year’s World Cup.

It doesn’t matter if they are born in Ireland or born in another country with Irish heritage. When the squad come together they are united as proud Irishmen.

“Ged is really big on culture,” O’Donnell said. “He wants everyone to learn their heritage and where our families are from, what county we are from and what Province we are from. That is a non-negotiable really.

“I am so proud of my family and it is something you hold really dear to you. On the back of our training jerseys there is the number 32, which is how many counties there are in Ireland. There are four stripes for the Provinces. It is something you hold dear to yourself.

“We’ve got a saying ‘Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile‘ which means no strength without unity. It is something you take into every game and every training session.”

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Ireland want to leave a lasting impact

Dec O'Donnell Ireland
Dec O’Donnell of Ireland | Photo: Simon Hall/Rugby League Ireland

Ireland have been drawn in a group alongside New Zealand, Lebanon and Jamaica at this year’s World Cup.

Workington man O’Donnell is excited about potentially playing in his first World Cup – but he wants his country to leave a lasting impact on the Emerald Isle.

“The opportunity that the squad what Ged and Joe put together is so big,” O’Donnell said. “We need to think of the bigger picture.

“It would be good on a personal level to say ‘I’ve played in a World Cup’, but to actually have the opportunity to have people back in Ireland watch this could be the start of something special. The knock on effect it could have could be huge.”

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About Drew Darbyshire 8178 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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