Banbridge man set for rugby league career in England

Clark shows off the first Ireland cap he won over the summer.
Clark shows off the first Ireland cap he won over the summer.

Banbridge man Clark McAllister is eyeing up a rugby career across the water.

That will involve a change of code though, as the Banbridge RFC player has received another call-up to the Irish Wolfhound rugby league team.

After making his international debut in the summer, Clark is now hoping his rise in the sport will lead across the Irish Sea.

“I’m planning on going over to England for the next rugby league season, but I don’t know which club I’ll be going to yet,” he told the ‘LEADER.’

“I’ve been talking to a few teams at League One level (the third tier of English rugby league) but I have to speak to people this weekend and take things from there.

“The first league game is around the end of February but I think it’s quite a long pre-season so I’ll have to go over before then.”

McAllister could be set for another stride forward in his budding rugby league career with the chance to make his competitive debut for the Wolfhounds this weekend against France in the final of the European Championships in Bray (kick-off 5pm).

A win for Ireland would even give them a chance of victory, as the title would then decided on points difference.

However, the first hurdle for McAllister will be making the match-day squad after training on Thursday and Friday.

“There are a lot of good players in the squad,” he said. “There are guys from Super League and Championship level so it will be difficult.
“It’s great just to be involved in this squad though. The previous squads I have been involved in have been domestic teams but this is the full squad.

“I had a lot of missed calls on my phone after our game against Naas last week and it turned out to be the call-up to the squad. I was over the moon when I found out.”

It’s the latest installment in a whirlwind year for McAllister, who had originally taken up rugby league at Portadown to keep his fitness up during the rugby union off season.

Now it could lead to a whole new career.