Ireland captain George King is optimistic that the Irish national team are in a much better position to succeed going forward and is striving to grow the sport back in the country.
Ireland were eliminated from the World Cup in the group stages, with their sole win coming against Jamaica.
Despite not hitting their goal of making the quarter-finals, King feels they have built a strong platform for the future.
“I’m more positive,” King told Love Rugby League after their final group game. “The foundations that Ged (Corcoran, head coach) and Joe (O’Callaghan, assistant) have laid has seen all the lads buy in.
“It was a professional environment and you can see that they’ve laid the foundations for years to come.
“Our challenge is now to galvanise the whole of Ireland, the board and the fans, to start building for the future.”
George King wants to play more international matches
The Hull KR forward believes that now is the time for Ireland to grow on the international stage so that they can compete with the top nations.
“We aren’t just a team that will lay low and be happy just to play a random game or use it as a social experiment,” King added.
“We are a professional organisation now and we’ve got foundations now to start building the blocks.
“One of the biggest challenges that Ireland; and other European nations face; is that we need to start having the respect from Super League and NRL clubs so that we can field the best possible team we can.
“We need to build off the international game. I think the pinnacle of our sport is the international game.”