The annual Wheelchair Rugby League Celtic Cup tournament will head to Ireland for the first time in its ten-year history as the hosts, Scotland and Wales do battle at the University of Galway, on Saturday 8 June 2024.

The sport is building in Ireland, with more domestic players involved and increased resource being put into coaching. “The Rugby League Ireland board is committed to expanding rugby league in all forms in the country, and we are very proud that we are now in a position to stage our first Wheelchair Rugby League international tournament,” commented RLI chair, Jim Reynolds. “This year also sees the launch of our inaugural domestic wheelchair competition – it is such an exciting and inclusive version of our game, and we are very excited to be welcoming the teams to Galway.”

Ireland wheelchair head coach Phil Roberts looking to build on his first year in charge. “Hosting the Celtic Cup is a fantastic opportunity for RLI,” he added. “The tournament has grown each year and the Kingfisher Centre at the University of Galway is a fantastic venue to showcase our sport. The game has further developed in Scotland and Wales following the establishment of wheelchair clubs in those countries and we are seeking to emulate that on the back of our training sessions throughout 2024.”

Defending champions Wales, back from their recent historic tour to the USA, will be hoping to make it an eighth consecutive Celtic Cup victory but know they face stern opposition from both Ireland and Scotland who have improved significantly in recent years, with Ireland holding Wales to a 30-all draw in 2023’s competition.

“We are looking forward to the next step of this international year,” said Alan Caron, Wales wheelchair head coach. “We will have open trials for the Celtic Cup in Leominster in March and then two camps leading into the trip to Ireland. It’s a great step forward that the competition is heading there for the first time and that this tournament is now firmly cemented in the international calendar.”

Scotland’s players were put through a rigorous training camp earlier this month in Edinburgh as they look to improve on third place finishes at the last three tournaments. “After a stuttering 2023 we go into this year’s competition with a much better prepared squad where there is a genuine competition for places across all positions, something that hasn’t always been there in the past,” noted their head coach, Mark Roughsedge. “I am excited to see how our new caps perform on what is another new stage for Wheelchair RL.”

Further details on fixtures, kick off times and event information will be released in due course.