You will struggle to find a prouder countryman than Ged Corcoran, who is the first Irish-born head coach of the Ireland national rugby league team.
The 39-year-old, who was born and bred in County Offaly, won 11 caps for his country during his playing career.
And this autumn, Corcoran will lead his beloved Ireland in his first World Cup as head coach.
“Sometimes when I wake up I have to pinch myself,” Corcoran told Love Rugby League. “I’m immensely proud.
“It’s nice to be discussed and recognised as a homegrown player whereas previously I always went under the radar as a heritage player.
“I was immensely proud to represent my country as a player. But to do it now as a head coach and to lead the calibre of players I’ve got makes me feel really proud and excited.
“My ma and da were speechless when I told them (I was going to be head coach). It’s a bit surreal for them still. I’ve got a wife who is very supportive, so I’m just looking forward to doing our country proud.”
Ged Corcoran: Ireland hold the Keyes to success
The Wolfhounds have named a very strong squad for this autumn’s tournament, featuring the likes of Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters) and Richie Myler (Leeds).
But Corcoran was keen to praise Halifax half-back Joe Keyes, who was nominated for the Championship’s Player of the Year award.
“Joe Keyes has gone under the radar a bit recently because a lot of people have been talking about Richie Myler and Luke Keary,” Corcoran told Love Rugby League.
“But Joe has been brilliant since he came in. I met with him throughout the year just to put him at ease because of the media that was coming out on both players (Myler and Keary). He’s really excited about representing his family and country.
“I’m extremely pleased with our squad. There’s more than 2,000 games of experience in our 24-man squad.”
Ireland are in a group alongside New Zealand, Lebanon and Jamaica. The Wolfhounds get their World Cup campaign underway against Jamaica at Headingley on Sunday, October 16.