New Ireland coach Ged Corcoran has called on his side to channel the spirit of 2000 at this year’s World Cup.
The 2000 World Cup saw arguably the best Ireland squad ever reach the quarter-finals. They just fell short to their English rivals in front of a packed Headingley crowd.
The Wolfhounds team that year was stacked with talent, with the likes of Barrie McDermott, Terry O’Connor, Kevin Campion, Luke Ricketson, Steve Prescott and Brian Carney included in Ralph Rimmer’s side.
Ireland beat Samoa, Scotland and the Aotearoa Maori before meeting England in the quarter-finals.
Corcoran wants his side to have the same desire the Irish showed in 2000 at this year’s World Cup, which is held in England.
“I want us to channel the spirit of 2000,” the County Offaly-born coach told Love Rugby League.
“If you look back at that team, it was one of the greatest Ireland teams ever – (Michael) Withers, McDermott, Ricketson, (Ryan) Sheridan, (Tommy) Martyn, (Terry) O’Connor, (Chris) Joynt and many more were involved.
“We are putting a massive emphasis on culture this year. We’ve got the number 32 on our kits to represent the counties in Ireland; and the four stripes to represent the provinces.
“I think it is going to be one of the most competitive World Cups ever. I think it is great how more players are committing to their nations of heritage. It is going to strengthen all nations.
“My journey as head coach is not just about this World Cup. It is about the pathways and how much stronger we want to be in the 2025 World Cup in France – both on and off the field.
“We want the quarter-finals as a minimum, that’s what we’ve spoken about.”
Ged Corcoran wants committed players to represent Ireland
Corcoran, who has taken over the coaching reins from Stuart Littler, says he only wants players pulling on the green jersey who are fully committed to Ireland every year.
“If you are a proud countrymen that I will give you all the respect in the world because that’s what you deserve,” Corcoran said.
“We want players who are committed to playing for Ireland every year, not just in a World Cup.
“I’ll class you as a homegrown player and a countryman if you are willing to represent your country every year. If you are going to drop off for three years after a World Cup then you are no longer part of the system and you won’t get the chance to represent your country under my watch.
“I really respect the boys who represent their country year in, year out. Leading into the World Cup, there are some high-profile players who will play but I still want to be loyal to the boys that have got us there. They deserve an opportunity.
“I don’t care how much Super League or NRL they’ve played or about their salaries. I don’t care if they are playing in League 1. Good people in my squad is what I want.”