Former Wigan forward Mick Cassidy, who played for England in the 1995 World Cup, will bridge a 13-year gap when he represents Ireland in this year’s Rugby League tournament in Australia.
The 35-year-old, who helped Barrow win promotion from National League Two this year, was today named in Ireland coach Andy Kelly’s final 24-man squad, which has a blend of youth and experience.
There are three products of the Irish domestic league in Ross Barbour, Steve Gibbons and Wayne Kerr, and players with extensive Super League experience in Pat Richards, Simon Finnigan, Gareth Haggerty, Stuart Littler and Karl Fitzpatrick.
Kelly is also able to call on two players from Australia’s National Rugby League in 21-year-old Wests Tigers winger Shannon McDonnell and prop Brett White, who played for Melbourne in Sunday’s Grand Final defeat by Manly and was under consideration by the Kangaroos.
Ruled out through injury were Wigan prop Paul Prescott (back) and Warrington duo Chris Bridge (Achilles) and Simon Grix (shoulder), with Sheffield Eagles’ Ged Corcoran earning a late call-up.
Ireland have appointed a captaincy triumvirate, with Wakefield full-back Scott Grix named as squad leader and Bob Beswick and Stuart Littler helping to spread the workload.