Batley Bulldogs' Michael Ward and Dewsbury Rams' Martyn Reilly named in Ireland squad for World Cup qualifiers

Martyn Reilly. PIC: Paul Butterfield.
Martyn Reilly. PIC: Paul Butterfield.

BATLEY Bulldogs’ Michael Ward and Dewsbury Rams’ Martyn Reilly have both been included in the Ireland squad for the upcoming 2021 World Cup European qualifiers.

Toronto Wolfpack hooker Bob Beswick has been named as captain, taking the armband from Dewsbury’s Liam Finn, who retired from the international game last year.

Michael Ward. PIC: PIC: Paul Butterfield.

Michael Ward. PIC: PIC: Paul Butterfield.

The Wolfhounds are in Pool A alongside Italy and Spain, with the top two nations qualifying for the tournament.

There are 37 players in the train-on squad, and include 11 players from the domestic Irish league.

Ward has played three times for Ireland since his international debut in 2018.

Meanwhile Reilly has never played for Ireland and said: “I am really proud, obviously it is something that everyone aims to do in the game to play on the international stage.

"I am not all the way yet to being picked for the world cup squad, but it’s a big step forward for me and a huge positive.

“My granddad on my dad’s side of the family is Irish and with the name Reilly spelt like it is, I thought it would look good on the back of an Ireland shirt.

“My granddad was buzzing when I told him, he was happy.

“It took a long time to find his birth certificate to prove my Irish heritage, however it all makes up for all those hours of searching to find it.”

Head coach Stuart Littler said: "Our squad has a youthful look to it with some added quality.

"We are excited as to what the future holds for Rugby League Ireland. The work done domestically this year has been exceptional and a real step forward.

"The World Cup is just around the corner and this tournament will assist with the future development and exposure of our players to the international environment."