More Euro support is required, says Aston

Ireland and Sheffield Eagles coach, Mark Aston.

Ireland and Sheffield Eagles coach, Mark Aston.

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IRELAND coach Mark Aston called for the game to provide better support for the second tier of international rugby league after watching his side narrowly miss out in the 2014 European Championship.

Aston was able to call on just two Super League players, Liam Finn and Shannon McDonnell, but the Wolfhounds ended the tournament with two wins out of three, losing only to eventual champions Scotland.

The Irish, who went into the final match needing to beat Wales by 41 points in Wrexham, were leading by 36 and pressing the home line with three minutes to go only for Welsh full-back Tom Hughes to gather a loose ball and sprint the full length of the pitch to score.

Ireland were in no mood to celebrate a 46-14 victory, which gifted the title to Scotland on the back of a superior points difference.

“I’ve never been in a changing room like that,” said Sheffield Eagles coach Aston, whose side miss out on a place in the 2016 Four Nations Series as a well as automatic qualification for the 2017 World Cup.

“Hopefully, more people will start believing in international sport because it is the pinnacle of the sport and I think it’s disrespected at a lot of levels.

“We need to get the game as a whole behind this tournament. It drives me insane that players don’t put their hands up to play at this level and clubs don’t support it.”

Winger Brad Hargreaves, scored a hat-trick of tries on his Ireland debut, while at the other end of the age scale, Castleford’s veteran scrum-half Finn ran the show on his return from injury and contributed 18 points with a try and seven goals.

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