Like the West Coast Warriors on Facebook.
The West Coast Warriors are set for a Renaissance after a break from competition.
Ireland returned home after disappointment in their Rugby League World Cup campaign this past autumn. Since then, notable players like Wakefield Trinity’s Liam Finn and Ireland coach, Mark Aston have called for the development of the game in Ireland.
With a new formatted European Championship in the mix for next autumn and changes going on behind the scenes within Rugby League Ireland including the inspiring World Cup campaign by the Wolfhounds in Australia, one club in Clare has taken inspiration from Rugby Leagues developments internationally.
Although Clare is known for the rugged limestone landscape, its strong connections to Muhammad Ali and the home of the inventor of the submarine, Rugby League is not renowned in the county, but with the re-emergence of the West Coast Warriors, this is set to change.
“When the inter-pro series was on [the West Coast Warriors] had three players playing with Munster at that time. One notable name was Aidan McManamon,” says Stuart Farrell, head committee member of the West Coast Warriors.
Farrell fell in love with the game and the club in 2011 when he joined the West Coast Warriors, as a player, after years of playing rugby union. His love for the club has helped resurrect it from years in hiatus.
“The club was started off in 2011 by a guy called Brent Farrell, who played Rugby League over in Australia and then he moved back to Clare and wanted to start a team. There was only a club in Limerick at the time. The Club started up in 2011.”
While the Director of Rugby League Ireland, Richard Egan, welcomed the side back from their hibernation, Egan has also received this news positively by adding that he is happy the club are going to welcome various age groups.
“It’s great to see the West Coast Warriors getting re-established. The club will hopefully attract players from the broader region and provide opportunities for players to experience Rugby League at various levels and age groups as well as attract coaches, match officials and administrators to secure the long-term future of the club.”
The communications and media team of Rugby League Ireland are assisting clubs like the West Coast Warriors in getting younger people involved in the game.
“The re-emergence of the West Coast Warriors in County Clare will definitely benefit the game in Ireland. As the communications team here, we will be guiding them on their path in getting young players and young adults into the game through social media.”
But, for Stuart Farrell it is about the club being competitive in all areas in the first season back, “I would like [the club] to be competitive, certainly competitive in games. Obviously we will have a lot of lads learning the game,” Farrell also said.
Before their break from competition, Farrell said that many notable names were playing for the club and he hopes that this can happen again in the future by getting younger players to represent their country.
“Basically, we will be trying to grow the under 17’s and under 19’s squads and hopefully have them play at representative levels on the Ireland teams and grow the club from there.”
He says that the plan for this to become effective is to mainly focus on the youth teams in the first number of seasons in the hope that the club will gradually grow from there.
“We are starting an under 17’s and under 19’s team as well as the adults. [We] are mainly focusing on under 17’s and under 19’s to start and then build our club from there!”
Farrell also stated that he does not think that the clash between Rugby Union and Rugby League will be a hindrance in the recruiting of players.
“It effects getting them over first of all because the reputation Rugby League has in the Rugby Union circles but I find as soon as the lads try it out, they prefer it because it is in the summer and it’s a preferable sport for some of them.”
Many people are backing the rebirth of the club based in Ennis, that has so much potential to be great. Rugby League Ireland will be hoping that this will inspire the establishing of many new teams in the future, at both youth and senior levels.