Tallaght man Denny McCarthy was recently capped by the Canadian international rugby League team. McCarthy, who’s from Springfield, played mostly Rugby Union in Ireland with the Leinster Schools and Colleges teams. He also played club rugby for Suttonians, Clondalkin and Tallaght RFC.
“I first played Rugby League for a season with the Tallaght Tigers before I immigrated to Canada in July 2011. When I arrived I joined a Union team, the Burlington Centaurs and played for them for three seasons. Then I switched back to league when I joined the Oakville Crusaders after being asked by former Centaurs player Brett King.”
McCarthy’s performances quickly made an impression and he was called into the Canadian Wolverines squad this summer for their warm-up games against The Royal Air Force and The England Lionhearts. “It was a massive honour to be picked in the Canadian squad and starting the first two test games against the RAF and the English Lionhearts was incredible.”
McCarthy impressed enough in those games to earn his first official cap for Canada against Jamaica in July. Canada won the game to win the 4th annual Caribbean Carnival Cup.
“Getting my first international cap for Canada against Jamaica was huge for me, I’ve lived here for three years and I worked hard to earn my spot on the starting team. The game was played in the pouring rain so it was just like home. Despite the rain, over 3000 fans still made it out and it was a great game to be part of. Jamaica had a very strong team, but I was very happy with how we played, we let in two breakaway tries which put us under pressure but we managed to keep the ball and complete more sets allowing us to get on top and win the game in the end.”
Then, last weekend McCarthy played in Canada’s biggest game of the season, the Colonial Cup clash against near neighbours the U.S.A. The competition has been played since 2010 with the Americans winning every time and as they were ranked six places above Canada in the World rankings, the U.S. were favourites again. However Canada pulled off a remarkable 52-14 win to take the trophy for the first time. McCarthy was at the heart of the action, scoring his first international try and making the second most tackles.
“It was a great way to finish off our season as winners of the Colonial cup for the first time. It’s been a great honour to play with the Canada Wolverines and I was further honoured when they voted me the defensive player of the season as well.”
Despite his success in Canada, his heart is still in Tallaght. “It’s hard not to miss Ireland with all my family and friends at home. I also miss playing with Tallaght RFC, where I enjoyed playing some great rugby with a great bunch of lads for a great club. It’s been great to keep up with their success from afar on Facebook though. I’m really looking forward to catching up with everyone in December.”
Jim O’Connor (c)