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Rugby League World Cup Final 2008
25 October-22 November 2008
Fixtures | Tables



Ireland won plenty of plaudits
Ireland won plenty of plaudits for their performances in Australia

Ireland coach Andy Kelly believes his side can go one better at the 2013 World Cup following their exit from this year's competition.

The Irish lost 30-14 to Fiji in their semi-final qualifier but have earned praise for their displays in Australia.

"I understand there is another World Cup in five years," said Kelly. "If we can get regular fixtures, I am sure we can go further than we have this year."

Ireland topped their group by upsetting Samoa in their final pool game.

And Kelly hopes his team's performance in Australia will help raise the profile of the game back in Ireland and give the international side a solid basis to work forward, including a possible inclusion in a future expanded Tri-Nations competition.

France are expected to be included in the 2009 competition, but John Monie's side disappointed hugely at the World Cup, finishing with the wooden spoon from the 10-man tournament.

Kelly thinks Ireland should be considered instead.

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"I feel that we deserve a shot at something that is of a higher profile," he said. "We would be more than happy to be involved.

"There are a few suggestions about the next tournament but we've got nothing definite yet.

"I would hope something would be put in place quite quickly and it's a viable competition that we can all benefit from."

Kelly also hoped Ireland could emulate Wales by getting a team involved in the higher echelons of club rugby in Britain.

"In order for us to improve, we need to have people who can facilitate coaches, coaches who can educate players, a better infrastructure in the Ireland game and also to try to get a representative side in the National League," he said.

Ireland upset Samoa to reach the semi-final qualifier after opening their tournament with a 22-20 loss to Tonga.

But despite starting well against Fiji, they ran out of steam.

"We are proud but the guys will always have the disappointment of knowing we were so close," Kelly told BBC Sport.

"Because we were denied ball we could never show our attacking prowess, but we defended well for long periods and it was our spirit which kept us going."

To be the first Irish team to make the semis was always our goal but another goal would have been been to get out of our group

Andy Kelly

Ireland were 12-10 down at the break, but the Fijians upped their game in the second half.

They ran in a further three second-half tries to advance to a semi-final meeting against Australia in Sydney next Sunday.

"Fiji have been the best of the three sides we have played," said Kelly. "They are great athletes with good footwork and they stuck to the task they were given.

"But I'm proud of the players who have worked hard through the training camp.

"To be the first Irish team to make the semi-finals was always our goal, but another goal would have been been to get out of our group - and we can look back with pride on achieving that."

see also
World Cup success thrills Fijians
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Fiji 30-14 Ireland
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Ireland v Fiji as it happened
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Ireland 34-16 Samoa
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Kelly proud of 'fantastic' Irish
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Tonga 22-20 Ireland
27 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Scotland 18-16 Fiji
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Fiji 42-6 France
01 Nov 08 |  Rugby League


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