By Stephen Canning.
This weekend see’s Wheelchair Head Coach Phil Roberts take his Ireland squad over to Scotland to take part in Wheelchair Rugby Leagues 8th Celtic cup at Oriam, Scotland’s Sports and Performance Centre, near Edinburgh.
Ireland will be looking to deny Wales a 7th consecutive title in this event, and gain their second, as they push for the event to be held in Dublin next year. Going into a home tournament as champions is always a good way to start. Ireland won the inaugural tournament when they played Scotland, but since Wales inclusion in its second year its been all one way traffic.
Roberts has named his squad for the tournament which include four debutants. Joe Calcott of Halifax, Matt Wooloff from Wigan, and Mel Griffith and Cian Horgan who are currently unattached to domestic league clubs.
The squad also includes two teenagers for this tournament in Cian Horgan (19) and Oran Spain (17).
With three players having only played a handful of games at last years Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup, they will be looking to build on this experience and really push the boundaries of what this squad is capable of.
Head coach Phil Roberts said “I’m really excited to see this team in action in the Celtic cup. A couple of our young debutants have yet to play a match but their raw talent could not be ignored. Having half our squad on each side of the Irish Sea brings challenges, but we’ve had record numbers at training in Dublin and our goal for a domestic wheelchair rugby league competition in Ireland is on track. The Celtic cup provides us with an opportunity to measure our progress and for our players to show us that they can execute under pressure.”
On the court Peter Johnson of Argonauts will be captaining the side with James McCarthy stepping up to the role of vice captain. “James is a very experienced sportsman, having represented Ireland in multiple sports for many years” said his Head Coach. “He is a natural leader, working well with the younger and less experienced players, and we felt making him our vice-captain appropriately reflects this.”
Whatever happens in this tournament for the Ireland team, it’s going to be a great stepping stone for their preparations towards another World Cup campaign. The tournament kicks-off on Sunday 18th of June with Scotland V Ireland at 12pm, Ireland V Wales at 2pm and Scotland V Wales at 4pm.
- Toby Burton-Carter (Warrington wolves)
- Joe Calcott (Halifax)*
- Paddy Forbes
- Mel Griffith*
- Can Horgan*
- Peter Johnston (c) (Argonauts)
- James McCarthy (vc)
- Phil Roberts
- Rick Rogers (Argonauts)
- Oran Spain
- Matt Wooloff (Wigan Warriors)