Limerick rugby star has League World Cup in his sights

GARRYOWEN second row Aaron McCloskey, who has spent time playing rugby league with Super League giants St Helen’s and with French side Montpellier Red Devils, is aiming to make the Irish squad for next year’s glamour World Cup fixture with Australia at Thomond Park.

GARRYOWEN second row Aaron McCloskey, who has spent time playing rugby league with Super League giants St Helen’s and with French side Montpellier Red Devils, is aiming to make the Irish squad for next year’s glamour World Cup fixture with Australia at Thomond Park.

The home of Munster Rugby will see Ireland play Australia in their Rugby League World Cup Group A clash on Saturday, November 9, 2013, in front of an expected global TV audience of over 20 million viewers.

Twenty four year old McCloskey, who is currently playing for Garryowen in Division 1A of the AIL, is also involved with the Irish rugby league side which is competing in the Aitala European Cup, one of the build-up events to next year’s World Cup.

Treaty City Titans rugby league player McCloskey was identified as a potential future star of the 13-a-side game and given a trial with the Super League heavyweights, St Helen’s after spotting him at Rugby League Ireland’s inaugural Talent Identification Academy that took place in Limerick in 2011.

“From the rugby league trials at that Academy, I went to St Helen’s in England and then they moved me to Montpellier in France,” Aaron McCloskey explained.

“I played in France for eight months and then came back to England. I made my Rugby League debut for Ireland against Scotland last year.

“It has been a whirlwind few years. We were monitored by St Helen’s all the way through our time in France.

“They were either on the phone to us or keeping in contact through Skype. They were outlining stuff they wanted us to improve on, to develop that bit more.

“It was a massive help going down there to play winter rugby in France. The weather was nice. They were no snowy days down there. It was good for my personal development.

“We went back to St Helen’s, played a couple of months back there with the reserves. It got to the end of the contract and unfortunately I didn’t develop like they wanted us to develop. We left the contract at that and shook hands. That was that.

“Playing Rugby League again professionally with a club at a high level is something I am looking into.

“I am sending out my CV, my playing CV. Hopefully, someone bites. It is something you wouldn’t turn down.

“It’s a chance to play as a professional again. Definitely, if a shot came up at it again, I would take it.

“Hopefully, I will get into the World Cup squad next year. It would be massive to be involved for me personally.

“But you look at the bigger picture, a game like that in Thomond Park, the boost it will provide for Limerick city. It will be a massive thing.

“I am back from Scotland with the Irish team. We beat them 30-18 at the weekend.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the match-day squad. I was a travelling sub. We play the English Knights this Saturday in Belfast. That will be a bigger test again. They are a very good side. Hopefully I will get into the squad and get onto the pitch again.”