Ireland push on with development plan


Rugby League Ireland (RLI) has announced an exciting new development scheme which could see the sport take a big step forward at international level in 2011.

The Wolfhounds – made up of players from outside the professional ranks and centred predominantly on the Irish domestic competition – have put a call out to all talented athletes and sportsmen in the whole of Ireland, and those eligible from beyond, to apply to be included in a number of development camps in Dublin in the New Year.

To begin the process, RLI has appointed a new Wolfhounds coach to begin the process and lay down a new platform for rugby league development in the Emerald Isle.

New supremo Alan Robinson, originally from Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh, firmly believes there is untapped talent available. “Rugby league is a sport which is very easy to access; you don’t have to be a rugby player,” he said.

“We have some exciting tournaments and international games coming up and by putting out a call such as this we hope to unearth some new talent that may not previously have come across rugby league and be aware of what it offers.”

Robinson, who has been involved in the code for the past 15 years continued, “I went to university in Coventry in 1995 and gave rugby league a try. I was then lucky enough to be handed the opportunity to play in one of the first Irish international squads the following year when we won against the USA in Washington DC. Since then I went on to play professionally and also founded Coventry Bears. I firmly believe that RLI has a lot to offer players who have the aspiration to play for their country.”

RLI Development Manager, Brendan Guilfoyle, is equally excited about the new initiative. “We are keen to start as soon as possible as our first big date will be the Saint Patrick’s Day challenge match against the USA on 17th March in Philadelphia which will be a huge event. We want to begin immediately to pool both new and old players for training and selection.”

Anyone interested can apply through the Rugby League Ireland website by filling out the downloadable player information form and those selected will then be invited to training. Further training days will be available in the Ireland and the UK in the new year.