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19 hours ago
Rugby League Ireland coach Andy Kelly has announced a 40-man training squad for the Rugby League World Cup in Australia in October and November.
The squad is dominated by players from England's engage Super League with a substantial representation from Ireland's Carnegie Elite League and two players from England's Co-operative National League.
Kelly said: "We have listed 40 players, the majority of whom have played for Ireland in the European Nations competitions and World Cup Qualifying matches. They've been bolstered by three key players: Wigan's Pat Richards, Brett White from Melbourne Storm and Shannon McDonnell from West Tigers".
Ireland have selected five players from the Irish-based Carnegie Elite League and two Elite League players now attached to National League Two club London Skolars, utility player Stevie Gibbons and prop Wayne Kerr.
Added Kelly: "Players from the Elite League have progressed well during the last three years and this is illustrated by the number of home-produced players who are now meriting selection for the Ireland. Tyrone McCarthy a member of the Irelands Students Squad and Warrington Wolves Academy Player, has also been included in the training squad."
The surprise package in the Irish training squad is Warrington Wolves back Chris Bridge who has been out of action since April last year recovering from an ankle injury. His recovery has progressed to such a stage that he can be considered for inclusion in Ireland's 40-man training squad.
Mike Callaghan, the Irish Team Manager, said: "We have spoken to the Warrington team management and have been told that if Chris is passed fit by their club medical staff he could be considered at a later stage".
"We believe this to be a balanced squad and if any further players become available for Ireland then they will be considered for selection by Andy Kelly and his coaching staff who now face the difficult task of reducing this 40-man group to the final 24-man squad for the tournament".
Barcoe, Paddy (Prop, Carlow Crusaders) Bates, Dave (Prop) Beswick, Bob (Hooker, Widnes Vikings) Blanche, Damien (Wing, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) Brady, Declan (2nd Row, North Dublin Eagles) Bridge, Chris (Half Back, Warrington Wolves) Brodie, Mike (Centre/Wing, Treaty City Titans) Buckley, Dave (Prop, York City Knights) Cassidy, Mick (Prop, Barrow Raiders) Corcoran, Ged (2nd row/prop, Sheffield Eagles) Dodd, Gavin (Wing/Fullback, Widnes Vikings) Doran, Lee (2nd row, Leigh Centurions) Finn, Liam (Hooker/Half back, Dewsbury Rams) Finnigan, Simon (Loose F