Ward is rewarded with call-up to the Ireland squad

Date published: 26 September 2016

OLDHAM'S impact prop Michael Ward (pictured) has been rewarded for an impressive season by his inclusion in Ireland's train-on squad for World Cup qualifying games against Russia and Spain next month.

Ward (25), Oldham born, wins his first international recognition in Mark Aston's 40-man squad, qualifying because his paternal grandfather left Galway as a young man to settle in the Oldham area.

Also named is Ward's Roughyeds team mate Will Hope, who has already won several Irish caps.

"I'm sweating now on getting a place in the team, but I'm buzzing at getting in the 40," said schoolteacher Ward, who played in 31 of Oldham's 33 games in the season that's just finished, scoring eight tries.

Danny Langtree also scored eight, but the only forward to score more was Kenny Hughes with nine.

Ireland play Spain in Valencia on October 22 and Russia at home on October 30 at a venue to be announced.

Former Oldham prop Wayne Kerr (31), now playing in the Irish domestic competition, is also in the squad, alongside 10 Super League players and nine from the Championship.

Oldham could have four players in the World Cup qualifiers because prop Joe Burke (Wales) and full-back Richard Lepori (Italy) are also selected in their respective squads. Both already have international caps.

John Kear's 29-man Welsh squad, to play Serbia and Italy, includes 10 Super League players and nine from the Championship.

Meanwhile, Bradford and Sheffield Eagles will contest the final of the Kingstone Press Championship Shield at Odsal next Sunday.

The Bulls booked their place with a 36-22 semi-final win over Dewsbury, while the Eagles bounced back from a humiliating 80-0 thrashing by Bradford to pull off a shock 46-32 win at Halifax.

Alex Mellor scored two tries and created one for Kieren Moss while Dane Chisholm, Kris Welham, Danny Williams and Ethan Ryan also touched down and Lewis Charnock kicked four goals for Bradford, who led 20-4 at the break.

Andy Kain, Jason Crookes, Josh Guzdek and Toby Adamson were Dewsbury's try-scorers and Shane Grady kicked three goals.

Sheffield put their off-field troubles to one side and never looked back after racing into a 26-0 lead after 28 minutes.

Barrow will play Toulouse Olympique for a place in the Championship after beating Doncaster 46-6 in their play-off semi-final.