After months of trials, the Ireland under 19’s coaching staff, led by head-coach Wayne Kelly, has whittled down the squad to 23 talented young athletes to compete at the European championships this August in Serbia.
Last week, the extended squad played and trained in an Ireland camp in Gormanston College, Co. Meath while sponsors DP Gymnastics provided the team with high quality functional training for the last few months in Balbriggan and throughout camp.
Paul Vargas, Assistant-coach said: “Anyone can lift a heavy weight, but the importance of core strength is paramount to winning the tackle, but also in that respect, for all pieces of the game. DP Gymnastics Balbriggan have really given these young lads great training, and all round good fun. It was great to be able to mix this training up for sure and we can not thank them enough for their help in sponsoring the team.”
The squad consists of mainly domestic Irish players both north and south of the border while a few heritage players based in England have come into the fold with added experience. The experience of heritage players Luke Findlow, Zack Fellows, Joe Togher, Jack O’Sullivan and Callum O’Neill will certainly add to the squad.
Captain James Cromie sead: “I’m sure I speak for all of the boys when I say that we’re excited for setting out to meet that challenge and go playing at a international youth competition. I wait for the up and coming months to develop as a group and as a team and to represent ourselves, each other, family and our country.”
The development of the underage structures has seen players come from League clubs from all parts of the country to make up the team.
Of the domestic teams, Longhorns RL and Athy Sharks have five players a piece in the squad while Belfast Met Scholars have three players representing the club and Galway Tribesmen have two. Dublin City Exiles, Belfast Stags and Portadown Pumas all have one player in the squad respectively.
Ireland U19’s 2018 Squad:
1. Luke Findlow Ince Rose Bridge
2. Ryan Curran Athy Sharks
3. Conor Smyth Athy Sharks
4. James Cromie (Captain) Belfast Stags
5. Zack Fellows Midland Hurricanes
6. Josh Basthill Belfast Met Scholars
7. Fiach Millward Athy Sharks
8. Paul McGookin Belfast Stags
9. Sam Cullen Athy Sharks
10. Ronan Michael (Vice Captain) Longhorns RL
11. Callum O’Neill Widnes Vikings
12. Jack O’Sullivan Eastern Rhinos
13. Joe Togher Hindley
14. Charlie Donnelly Dublin City Exiles
15. Josh MacNamee Longhorns RL
16. Shalun Carey Longhorns RL
17. John Why Galway Tribesmen
18. Jordan McKibbin Portadown Pumas
19. Kevin Vargas Longhorns RL
20. Andrew Smyth Belfast Met Scholars
21. James Mulvaney Longhorns RL
22. Sam O’Sullivan Galway Tribesmen
23. Gareth Gardiner Belfast Met Scholars
Ireland is the first team to publish a list of their players. The first game of Ireland will be played on 5th August against Scotland.