Two newcomers for Ireland's League squad

Salford centre Stuart Littler and Halifax’s Australian-born loose forward Pat Weisner are among the newcomers named in Ireland’s 19-man squad for the European Nations Cup.

Salford centre Stuart Littler and Halifax’s Australian-born loose forward Pat Weisner are among the newcomers named in Ireland’s 19-man squad for the European Nations Cup.

Both players qualify through Irish grandparents and are set to make their debuts in Sunday’s opening pool match against Wales in Aberavon.

Other Super League players in the squad are Salford scrum-half Karl Fitzpatrick and former Great Britain second-rower Mick Cassidy, while Phil Cantillon, Richard Marshall, Rob Smyth and Paul Southern have all experienced top-flight football.

Leeds’ Great Britain prop Barrie McDermott, who captained Ireland against France in 2002, is not available because of Saturday’s Grand Final but is likely to play against Scotland in Navan on October 29.

Coach Daryl Powell, the Leeds Rhinos’ director of rugby, has also included four players from Ireland's domestic competition.

“It is important for the development of the game in Ireland that we have the players from the amateur side included and they will benefit from their involvement with us,” said Powell, who will miss the Grand Final to be with the Irish squad.

“They are making great strides in Ireland, including a first-ever win over England this season, and these players can now take the step up to the next level.”

Squad: D Bates (Halifax), P Cantillon (Halifax), M Cassidy (Wigan), C De Chenu (Sheffield Eagles), L Doran (Oldham), I Dowling (Kilkenny Wildcats), T Gallagher (Leeds), K Fitzpatrick (Salford), D Foy (Kerry Kings), S Littler (Salford), S Manuel (Kilkenny Wildcats), R Marshall (Leigh), C Maye (Swinton), M McConnell (Barrow), P Purdue (Clontarf Bulls), R Smyth (Leigh), P Southern (Rochdale), A Stewart (Salford), P Weisner (Halifax).

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