Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary says he will belt Ireland’s Call out with pride when he pulls on the green jersey this autumn.
Keary, a three-time NRL Grand Final winner, was born and raised in Australia but qualifies to represent Ireland through his grandfather, who hails from Loughrea in County Galway.
The 30-year-old half-back put his hand up to play for Ireland at the last World Cup in 2017, but had to pull out due to injury.
“I had a chat to a few Ireland officials and put my name out there for the (2017) World Cup but I had a few injuries towards the back end of the year which prevented me from playing which was disappointing,” Keary said in an exclusive chat with Love Rugby League.
“My path took a bit of a different direction in the years that followed. I got to play for Australia in 2018 and then the World Cup got postponed in 2021 which kind of helped me a little bit because I had an ACL injury that year.
“I got to the start of this year and thought I’d put my name out there again (for Ireland) and see how the year unfolded and if the opportunity presented itself at the back end then it was something I wanted to do for a long time now. It has come about pretty quick.”
A breath of fresh Éire
Keary says he has always been immensely proud of his Irish heritage, with his dad telling him plenty of stories as he grew up. Keary is hoping to visit family on the island for the first time after the World Cup.
“My grandad is from Loughrea in County Galway,” Keary said. “He moved over to Australia when he was in his 20s, him and his brother came out.
“My grandad’s sister still lives in Loughrea and his cousins. My dad has been back over a few times. He will come over in a couple of weeks to watch me and visit the family. I’m hoping to get over there after we get to the finals, hopefully.
“I’ve only ever been only to England to play in the World Club Challenges. I haven’t been lucky enough to holiday over here yet but I’ll heading over to Ireland at the end of the tournament to say hello to everyone back home.”
Luke Keary answers Ireland’s Call
It will be one of the proudest moments of Keary’s career when he signs Ireland’s Call, the national anthem, in their opening game of the World Cup against Jamaica.
“I know it, I’ll be belting it out in game one,” Keary told Love Rugby League.
“It’s been great getting to know the boys, they are all really good fellas. We’ve had a few good times already and I’ve been really impressed with training with all the boys.
“I’ve played three World Club Challenges over here and the standard of the competition is very high. The boys we’ve got here are very good players. These rep camps are about players gelling together over the next two or three weeks but the first few weeks have been really good.”
Luke Keary: Future is bright for Rugby League Ireland
Rugby League Ireland have put a huge focus on the future and development of the game since Ged Corcoran took over as head coach. The Wolfhounds aren’t just thinking about this World Cup – they’ve also got a focus on France 2025.
“Ged has only recently taken over but he has done a really good job to pull this squad together,” Keary said.
“We are probably lucky now that the French World Cup is going to be a little bit sooner (because of the postponed tournament). There’s a few young boys here who will be a part of that one and we’ll see where I’m at.
“For Ireland Rugby League it is exciting times. Hopefully we’ll get some boys who will pledge (their commitment) to Ireland; and that we’ll get some boys coming through the Super League and NRL systems who want to come and play.”
Ireland are in a group alongside New Zealand, Lebanon and Jamaica for this year’s World Cup. Corcoran’s side get their campaign underway against Jamaica in Leeds on Sunday, October 16.