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Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Ireland eye up Championship bid

Ireland Rugby League team
Ireland reached the semi-final qualifier at the 2008 World Cup in Australia

Ireland head coach Andy Kelly believes there is a major hunger for an Irish club to compete in the English game.

And he predicts that, after Ireland's strong showing at the 2008 World Cup, a bid for an Irish club to be involved in the Championship could occur soon.

"The feeling in Ireland for that to happen is very strong," Kelly told the BBC's Super League Show.

"If we can get the finances in place, there is a chance a bid would be made by us."

Helped by Ireland's display at the World Cup in Australia in the autumn, rugby league is growing in popularity in a country dominated by Gaelic football, hurling, rugby union and football.

Teams from France (Catalans Dragons) and Wales (Celtic Crusaders) already compete in Super League, while Toulouse Olympique XIII are making their debut in the Championship this season.

"If the bid is strong enough," said the former Dewsbury Rams head coach Kelly. "We'd like to think it would be accepted.

"We'd like to be involved, are very excited about it and we think that it is the next step for the competition."

You can watch the The Super League Show again on the BBC iPlayer or via the BBC Red Button.

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see also
Ireland v Fiji as it happened
10 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Kelly proud of 'fantastic' Irish
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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