Ireland Wolfhounds rugby league team fight hard in defeat by England Knights!!! Report & 200+ ACTION SHOTS LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ireland defeated by England Knights in Belfast – Wolfhounds beaten 56-4 in historic Deramore Park fixture

Ireland lost out to the hugely physical England Knights on Saturday evening in the first rugby league international played in Belfast for 12 years.

The Wolfhounds missed out on the chance to secure the Alitalia European Cup, having beaten Scotland in the three-way tournament – preparation for next year’s Rugby League World Cup – last Sunday in Edinburgh.

The match began at a frenetic pace, and Ireland handled the first couple of attacks from England, but failed to gain much ground on their own second set of six and had to kick from deep. From the resulting pressure the visitors launched a move down the left and winger Jodie Broughton opened the scoring in the third minute, before half back Luke Gale’s kick slipped wide.

But the home side responded well. In the eighth minute England full back Chris Riley ran back a kick but a good defensive chase and some tough tackling put him under pressure and forced a fumble. Ireland skipper Liam Finn dived on the ball and suddenly Ireland had a set of tackles deep in Knights territory.

An assault down the right saw winger Tim Bergin go close, before the Wolfhounds moved left with some crisp passes and, with the defence stretched, centre Joshua Toole was able to go between two opponents out wide for the try, but the conversion was missed leaving the score at four apiece.

For the next fifteen minutes Ireland were very competitive. The physically bigger Knights set our their stall with a direct approach, but the home side tackled well and, when they had the ball, attacked creatively through Finn and James Mendeika.

England however were getting the better of both possession and territory, and they were next to score. A poor clearance kick from Wolfhounds hooker Carl Sice was run back with purpose by the visitors, with right wing Kieron Dixon crossing out on the right after a couple of tackles.

Indiscipline crept into the home side’s game during the remainder of the first half and was punished. Tries from Jordan Turner, Tom Burgess and Daniel Houghton helped the Knights to a 26-4 lead at the break.

The second period started with a period of heroic defence from Ireland, with brave work from all the players including Greg McNally, Colton Roche and vice captain Tyrone McCarthy.

Despite having almost no possession and suffering repeated goal line drop outs as England kept hammering at their line, they held firm for the first fifteen minutes of the half.

England varied their standard, brutal tactics of sending forwards in behind the ruck – with the enormous Burgess twins, George and Tom, rampant – by using punchy passing moves out to the wings late in each set of six.

Forwards like Elliot Cosgrove and 22-year-old Matty Hadden, who spent last summer playing for Antrim Eels, put their bodies on the line in a bid to hold out the visitors. However Jodie Broughton’s second try, following a clever grubber kick angled behind the defensive line by Dan Sarginson, finally broke the resistance and more scores followed.

Michael Lawrence and both the Burgess twins – Tom with his second – crossed and, with Luke Gale’s goal kicking improving throughout the game, the final score was 4-56. Ireland captain Liam Finn said his side were disappointed with the result and felt that they had played better during last week’s win against Scotland.

The Featherstone Rovers player said the players were building towards next year’s World Cup and would take lessons from playing such a quality side: “It’s a massive learning curve and something we have got to learn from because it’s not going to get any easier.

“It was a tough game, it was always going to be tough. We have a lot of lower league players based in England and domestic players based in Ireland, so when you are playing a team that is England’s second team it’s always going to be tough.”

Coach Mark Aston said his players were not satisfied with their performance and wanted to improve, saying: “I thought for 30 minutes we competed well for large parts of it. It was a good thing to show three domestic lads experience of playing at the highest level, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get more opportunities to score more points.

“We got to know each other, we are a little bit closer to knowing the people for the world cup next year.”

The Ireland team were praised by Knights captain Danny Houghton, who called the game a “test”.

PICTURES: Attached are two images: #1 shows Ireland captain Liam Finn and vice-captain Tyrone McCarthy (number 13) tackling England Knights’ Chris Clarkson, and #3 shows Tyrone McCarthy and Gregg McNally tackling Tom Burgess over the line.

1. Rugby League Ireland is the official governing body for the game across the whole of the island, administering both the domestic club scene and the national side – their website is

2. The Alitalia European Cup consists of a round robin league between Ireland, Scotland and England Knights. The tournament opens when Ireland play Scotland in Edinburgh on October 14, the Ireland – England Knights match in Belfast is the middle fixture, while Scotland will play the Knights in Edinburgh on October 28 to complete the fixtures.

3. Ireland team: (1-13) Gregg McNally, Tim Bergin, Stuart Littler, Joshua Toole, John O’Donnell, James Mendeika, Liam Finn (c), Sean Hesketh, Carl Sice, Luke Ambler, Callum Casey, Elliot Cosgrove, Tyrone McCarthy. Interchange: (14-17) Colton Roche, Wayne Kerr, Matty Hadden, Sam Wellens.

4. Full squad for the Alitalia European Cup:
Matthew Hadden* (Antrim Eels), Simon Deevy* (Athboy Longhorns), Wayne Kerr (Country Cowboys), Elliot Cosgrove (Dewsbury Rams), Tom McKeown* , Joe Taylor (Dublin City Exiles), Liam Finn (captain, Featherstone Rovers), Luke Ambler, Callum Casey, Paul Handforth, Sean Hesketh (Halifax RLFC), Colton Roache* (Leeds Rhinos), Tommy Goulden, Stuart Littler, Gregg McNally (Leigh Centurions), Joshua Toole* (Mounties), Joe Mulhern* (Oldham Roughyeads), Tim Bergin, Pat Smith (Sheffield Eagles), Brendan Guilfoyle, Aaron McCloskey (Treaty City Titans), Kurt Haggerty, Joel Hinchcliffe*, Sam Wellens* (Unattached), Danny Bridge*, James Mendeika*, Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington Wolves), Matthew Haggerty*, Carl Sice* (Whitehaven RLFC), John O’Donnell* (Wigan Warriors)
*Denotes previously uncapped player

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