John Whalley has named his 19-player Rugby League Ireland squad for the European Championship B decider against Wales this coming Saturday.
The game will be the first on home soil for the Irish, as they host Wales at Energia Park, Dublin on Saturday 8th October (3pm K.O.)
It will be the second meeting between the two sides, after Ireland came out 26-24 winners in their inaugural game almost 12-months ago. Both sides have faced Italy in the European Championship competition so far, and with wins for both Ireland and Wales, this weekend’s game will be the decider for the group.
John Whalley has named a squad of 19, which includes 6 uncapped players in Lisa Callan of Dublin City Exiles, Gabby Harrison of Featherstone Rovers, Laoise McGonagle and Sinead O’Brien of Galway Tribeswomen, Jemma Farrell of Old Belvedere and Louise Burgess of Oxford Cavaliers.
Philippa Birchall returns to Captain the side having missed out on the opening fixture against Italy through injury.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, Head Coach John Whalley said: “This was by far the hardest squad selection so far, we have a real selection headache as we now get strength in depth and a push for places, players know they need to be at their very best. It is great to see some uncapped players who have come in on the back of very good form and given us different options, a different dimension but ultimately they know they need perform to keep their Green Jersey.”
On the game he said: “It will be a great game of Rugby League, for both countries they will want to build on previous performances and I’ve no doubt it will be great spectacle for the neutral. As both teams build towards their own goals, we want to put our best foot forward in every game and compete on the biggest stage.
“As our first game on home soil, this will be a special occasion for everyone. I know a lot of work has gone into this to make it happen.”
He added: “It is something we have been looking forward to for a long time, the preparations have gone really well and there is a good vibe both in camp and around the Rugby League community in Ireland. It’s something we will look back on with fond memories, for now we have a job to do but we must enjoy it.”
Ireland 19-player squad:
Storm Cobain (Bedford Tigers), Lisa Callan*, Ali Coleman, Roisin Crowe, Clodagh Dunne, Ray Lawless, Alex McGuinness, Amy O’Neill (Dublin City Exiles), Charlie Willet (Exeter Chiefs), Francessca Copley, Gabby Harrison* (Featherstone Rovers), Laoise McGonagle*, Sinead O’Brien* (Galway Tribeswomen), Mairead Quinn (Leigh Miners Rangers), Iona McCusker (London Broncos), Jemma Farrell* (Old Belvedere), Louise Burgess* (Oxford Cavaliers), Philippa Birchall – (St Helens), Bettie Lambert – (York City Knights)