Celtic Cup times announced

History will be made on Saturday (8 June), when Ireland host the Wheelchair Rugby League Celtic Cup, marking the first ever games of the format played in that country. The matches will take place at the Kingfisher Sports Centre at Galway University in the West of Ireland.

The fixture times are confirmed as follows:

10.30am – Ireland v Scotland
12.30pm – Scotland v Wales
2.30pm – Ireland v Wales

Scott Trigg-Turner and Mason Baker are named as Wales co-captains and they are looking forward to the tournament.

Trigg-Turner said: “After almost 11 years playing the sport, it’s a big honour for me to lead this team to the Celtic Cup. 

“Everybody’s playing great, everybody’s on par, everybody knows what we got to do. We’ve a great strong squad, it’s going to be tough, but we have a team we can do the job and bring that Cup back.

Baker adds: “I’ve only been around this squad for 2-3 years, so to get an opportunity like this, to take the team over to Dublin, to be able to play Ireland and Scotland in the Celtic Cup, is a massive honour.

“So we’re going to go there, hopefully defend the title again and bring it back home.”

Ireland will break further new ground as, for the first time, the majority of their squad are domiciled there. Player/head coach, Wigan’s Phil Roberts, has named debutants Ellie Sheehy and Maurice Noonan, while Cian Horgan and Melanie Griffith both return having made their debuts at the 2023 event, as Rugby League Ireland eyes the launch of its inaugural domestic competition.

“With so many players new to the sport, we’ve really pushed their tactical and technical learning this year and are delighted with the squad’s progress and how they have invested in this process,” Roberts said. “This is the first wheelchair international event that Rugby League Ireland have hosted at an exciting time in the development of the game here, with some major announcements coming in the near future. However, our sole focus now is the opportunity we have at the excellent University of Galway facility, in what I am sure will be a fantastic event.”

Scotland have not won a Wheelchair international since September 2015, when they beat Ireland 32-16 at the European Championship. Their head coach Mark Roughsedge has named two debutants, Calum Japes and David Hill, with experienced campaigners such as Graeme Stewart and Daniel and Michael Grant returning. Scotland’s domestic competition provides six of their nine players.

“The players have worked incredibly hard to be selected,” Roughsedge noted. “The competition for places across all positions has given the coaching team some real selection headaches. I’m looking forward to seeing how we perform in what will be tough tests against a strong Ireland squad who will fancy their chances on home soil and favourites Wales, but it’s a challenge we are really looking forward to.”

Cian Horgan, Ellie Sheehy, James McCarthy, Maurice Noonan, Melanie Griffith, Oran Spain (domestic players), Joseph Calcott (Halifax Panthers), Peter Johnston (Argonauts), Phil Roberts, Toby Burton Carter (Wigan Warriors)

Gregor Anderson (Dundee Dragons), Connor Blackmore, Calum Davidson, David Hill, John Willans (Edinburgh Giants), Graeme Stewart (Glasgow Rugby League) Daniel Grant, Michael Grant (Gravesend Dynamite), Calum Japes (York RLFC)

Richard Carver (Argonauts), Lee Sargent (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Philip Davies (Hereford Harriers), Jess Booth, Martin Turner, Mason Baker (North Wales Crusaders), Alex Powell (Torfaen Tigers), Scott Trigg-Turner (Cardiff Blue Dragons/London Roosters), Mark Williams (Wigan Warriors).