Date published: 17 March 2013
Fiji UK v Ireland A
Ireland ‘A’ kick started their season this weekend with a St Patrick’s Day win over Fiji UK at Firgrove, Rochdale. The game was an official warm up match for the Rugby League World Cup.
Originally scheduled to be played at Kingsway Sports Centre, Rochdale, the fixture was transferred to Firgrove at short notice due to a waterlogged pitch at Kingsway. The short notice switch did nothing to diminish the numbers or the enthusiasm of the crowd as around 200 turned out to watch a bruising battle.
Ireland Head Coach Ged Corcoran was able to call on vast experience for his squad including three men who were included in Mark Aston’s senior squad last winter. Veterans at this level Brendan Guilfoyle and Wayne Kerr led the forward charge while Athboy star Simon Deevy built on some impressive performances from last term.
With Aston in attendance the game was an opportunity for the Irish players to impress the Ireland and Sheffield Eagles boss as they look to push their way into his world up thoughts.
The physically imposing Fijian team dwarfed their comparitively diminutive Irish opponents but the skill and team work of the Irish team proved too much for the big hitting Fijians as Ireland had the match sewn up by half time. In an excellent display of disciplined rugby they dominated the Fijians and led at half time without the Fijians having got on the score sheet.
The Fijians game improved considerably in the second half and at times they had Ireland pinned back and finally managed to break through a concerted Ireland defence to score, and one became two and then three trys but Ireland matched them in the scoring to ensure they kept the game comfortably under wraps.
Rochdale born Ireland coach Ged Corcoran commented: "It was a real taster for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup 2013. Some possible future stars for Ireland played against a very tough, hardened team in the Fiji boys who know how to smash moving targets and really hurt the opposition. It was a real mouth watering game with both teams playing for pride and passion while serving their country. "
Tabua Cakacacka-Fou, head coach of the Fiji UK team added: "We have played some tough games since our resurgence a couple of years ago, namely against the Rochdale Town Team, Rochdale Hornets and in the Exiles World Cup in Leeds, but the Irish were a different encounter all together."
The game was sponsored by the Flying Horse Hotel and the pub hosted the official post game ‘Fijian St Pats Party’ with all the players and coaches.
Tickets for the Fiji vs Ireland RLWC2013 game at Spotland are on sale now. Call into Spotland to book your tickets.
Hospitality packages and group deals are also available via Rochdale Hornets: firstname.lastname@example.org