A former St Gabriel's High School pupil has spoken of his pride at making his Ireland rugby league debut.

Callum Mulkeen made his first senior appearance on home soil in a European Championship match against France last month, which Ireland won 22-8.

After making a winning start to his international career, the 23-year-old from Walmersley in Bury, also played games against Scotland and Wales to help the Irish finish in third place in the contest.

And Callum, who is currently representing his country in Dubai, could not be more proud of his achievement.

"It's probably the proudest moment in my sporting career," he told the Bury Times.

"It's something I've always wanted to do.

"My grandad was a very proud Irishman and he watched rugby even before I got into playing the game.

"Playing for Ireland is something I've dreamt about and for it to become a reality is something I never thought would happen.

"To win our first match was also brilliant. It was the first time that we had beaten France and obviously everyone was really pleased because we had won it on home soil."

The University of Gloucestershire student, who is currently studying sport development, did not start playing rugby league until two years ago, instead concentrating on football and rugby union.

"I played football for 13 years when I was younger and played at quite a high level," said Callum.

"I was at Bury's academy from the age of seven to 13 and I played semi-professional in the first team at Darwen as well.

"I also played rugby union at Rochdale but in the end I had to choose one or the other because of college work. I couldn't do both because of the amount of training and away trips.

"It got to the stage in football where I thought I had reached my potential but people kept saying to me that I could go further with my rugby so I thought I would give it a go.

"I joined a good sporting university at Gloucester and started to play rugby league and it's progressed from there," he said.

Callum started playing for amateur rugby league side Gloucestershire Warriors before being placed on a scholarship in his second year at university.

He signed for the university's semi-professional side Gloucestershire All Golds for a year and has been playing for Oxford in the past season before bursting onto the international scene.

"The university encourages players to get their student international honours so my coach Ken Stone basically pushed me to take part in the Student Four Nations.

"He put me in contact with Rugby League Ireland and I took part in trials in Sheffield.

"After playing in domestic competitions I started playing for Ireland amateurs and then I had a call to say I'd been called up to the senior squad for the European Championships. To get that call was amazing."

"I've basically played one year of amateur, one year of university rugby league and now I am playing semi-professional in only my second year as a rugby league player."

Callum, who's usual position is at centre for his club, has been playing on the wing for his country in recent games.

"There are a few higher graded players playing at centre for Ireland who have played Super League where as I have played a bit lower down in the competition.

"I'm reasonably fast and I think they've looked at that quality and decided to play me on the wing for now.

"I'm hoping to move up and play centre for Ireland at some point. I just have to bide my time," he said.

Although still looking to score his first international points, Callum is confident that is only a matter of time.

"I scored six tries for Oxford last season and had a few assists and I scored in the Student Four Nations, so hopefully my first senior points are not too far away," he said.

A love of sport runs throughout the former Holly Mount Primary School pupil's family with his brother Liam following in dad John's footsteps as a keen water polo player and swimmer. Mum Sally has also played netball and rounders, while sister Lydia is a horse rider.

Once graduated, Callum, who already has his rugby league level two coaching badges, is aiming to become a coach or personal trainer. He is also hoping to play in Australia next year.