When it comes to World Cups, there’s often a lot of debate over who qualifies for what team and whether players should only represent the country they were born in or be able to represent their family’s heritage.
However, hearing one Ireland player’s reasons for representing them despite being born in Australia, demonstrates the importance of allowing players to represent their family’s heritage as well as the country they were born in.
When Luke Keary takes to the field for Ireland in the World Cup, he will have done both. The Australian born halfback represented the Kangaroos back in 2018 and will now represent his father’s country in the World Cup.
And what a major boost it is for Ireland to have a player of his calibre in the side. A three-time NRL winner helping Souths to the trophy in 2014 before being an integral part of the Sydney Roosters side who went back to back in 2018 and 2019 even picking up the Man of the Match in the 2018 decider, he’s one of the best five-eighths on the planet and it will be a joy to see him play for Ireland especially for his family.
In an interview on Ireland’s Twitter page, Keary spoke about what it meant to represent Ireland but first spoke about training, the teams in Ireland’s group and his excitement for the tournament: “It’s good mate, long trip over the last couple of days. It’s just good to get out on the training paddock with all the boys.
“Everyone’s really excited to be here and we’re going to enjoy our time.
“Jamaica’s first World Cup is going to be exciting, Lebanon are always good and then obviously the big test against the Kiwis at the end.
“We’ll get through these next couple of days before focusing on Jamaica next week.”
In terms of making the statement and saying he was going to play for Ireland, he noted: “I wanted to put it out there at some stage. There’s some boys playing over here in Super League that I haven’t met before, I’m just excited to be here.”
Lastly though, he revealed how he qualifies for Ireland and just how much it means to him to represent his family: “My Grandfather, my dad’s dad was born just outside of Galway. I’ve still got a lot of family over there, some live here in England.
“Dad will be over in a couple of weeks. Dad has always been back a few times to visit all the family.
“It’s pretty special, me and my brother have known about our heritage since we were really young, dad has always talked about it. We had a few of dad’s uncles come to Australia and got to know them.
“I feel really privileged to represent my family and the country of Ireland.”
⭐️ A three-time NRL champion who is ready and excited to make Ireland proud at the @RLWC2021!
— Rugby League Ireland (@Irelandrl) October 9, 2022