's One Cap Wonder Ireland XV's One Cap Wonder Ireland XV
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
Share this article

In our latest series of Irish rugby XV pieces, we have taken a look at those fortunate, or unfortunate, souls, who have but a single cap to their name.

Regardless of their 'one cap wonder' tag, they have all come close to the pinnacle of the game and have achieved their rugby dream of pulling on their country's jersey.

For this team we have kept it to relatively recent players, as the info and footage grows thin the further back you go.

Jeremy Loughman - Loose Head Prop

The Reno born prop was making serious inroads at Munster and with Ireland - he won his first cap during the autumn against Fiji - before a poorly timed injury put paid to his Six Nations chances, where he would likely have seen game time.

His return to fitness has coincided with Munster's upturn in form, and will be looking to make the World Cup squad ahead of his teammate Dave Kilcoyne.

He is the most likely man in this XV to get a second cap.

Mike Sherry - Hooker

Sherry first came to prominence with Ireland when he received an unexpected call-up to the 2011 World Cup squad as a 23-year-old.


He was capped by the Wolfhounds in 2012 but had to wait another year until his full debut against the USA during the 2013 Summer tour.

Other than a brief loan spell at Gloucester in 2019, he played with Munster his entire career.

23 September 2013; Irish rugby : Ireland's Mike Sherry during squad training. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Ronan Loughney - Tight Head Prop

Loughney packed down on both sides of the scrum for Connacht during his 11 year career with the province.

The Galway man received his one and only cap during the summer of 2012, in rugby's toughest environment - away to New Zealand.


Fineen Wycherley - Lock

The 25-year-old is still trucking away at Munster, but will find his opportunities increasingly limited with the talent coming through in the back five of the pack.

He came on as a replacement in Ireland's 71-10 victory over the USA in 2021.

Billy Holland - Lock

A certified legend in Munster, Holland is probably the most deserving of his sole Ireland cap out of any of these 15 men.


After years of the grind, he finally pulled on the senior Irish jersey against Canada in 2016.

12 November 2016; Billy Holland of Ireland during the Autumn International match between Ireland and Canada at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Robin Copeland - Blindside Flanker

Copeland's athleticism and ball carrying was perfectly suited to the Pro 12 and Pro 14, when, from relative obscurity, he hit a rich vein of form with the Cardiff Blues before being picked up by Munster in 2014.

His only cap came against Georgia in 2014, and he is still togging out in the Pro D2 for SA XV Charente, but he will be retiring at the end of the season.

Paul Boyle - Openside Flanker

We are squeezing Boyle in at 7, but the Connacht man has featured here a few times.


Despite his career slowing slightly since bursting onto the scene, he is still only 26-years-old and has plenty more to give.

His lone cap came against the USA in 2021.

Roger Wilson - Number Eight


"It's all motivation for me, but I still wonder sometimes does the face not fit. If you don't know what I mean by that I suppose you should ask Roger Wilson how he has one cap for Ireland and Jamie Heaslip has 60 and two Lions tours behind him."

The infamous 'face does not fit' comments from Darren Cave show how highly Wilson was rated among some of his peers.

While Cave's Jamie Heaslip comparison is a tad ropey, Wilson's sole cap against Japan in 2005 is not reflective of his talents.

12 June 2005; Irsh rugby : Roger Wilson, Ireland, is tackled by Kyohei Morita, right and Tomoaki Nakai (21), Japan. Japan v Ireland 1st Test, Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Japan. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Matt Healy - Scrum-Half

We are cheating slightly here, but with Caolin Blade earning his second cap last Saturday, we had to take drastic measures.

While known mostly as a winger, Healy did play scrum-half at U20s and AIL level.

He epitomised the exhilarating brand of rugby that Connacht conjured up in their title winning season of 2015/16.

Off the back of these performances, Healy won his lone cap during the 2016 summer tour to South Africa.

25 June 2016; Matt Healy of Ireland is tackled by Elton Jantjies of South Africa during the Castle Lager Incoming Series 3rd Test between South Africa and Ireland at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Mike Lowry - Out Half

Not his more comfortable position of fullback, but he has filled in well here on a number of occasions for Ulster.

Hasn't capitalised on an outstanding breakout year in 2021/22, and will probably be looking at post-World Cup for an opportunity to add to his single cap.

Put in one of the best debuts of anyone in this side, with two tries and an assist against Italy in the 2022 Six Nations.

Niyi Adeolokun - Left Wing

An integral part of Connacht's legendary 2015/16 season, and scored a cracking solo try in their Pro 12 final win over Leinster.

His lone cap was earned alongside Billy Holland against Canada, and he is now retired and working as a clerical officer.

Noel Reid - Inside Centre

One of the best passers of a ball during his time at Leinster, and the perfect foil for the hard running Ben Teo, with whom he formed a successful partnership in the midfield.

Received his well earned cap on the 2014 tour to Argentina.

Rory O'Loughlin - Outside Centre

An underrated player outside of Leinster, with the ability to fill in on the wing or in the centre at a Champions Cup level.

Was capped against Japan in 2017 and now plies his trade in the Gallagher Premiership with Exeter.

17 June 2017; Jack O'Donoghue of Ireland, centre, and Rory O'Loughlin, walk onto the pitch prior to the international rugby match between Japan and Ireland at the Shizuoka Epoca Stadium in Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Adam Byrne - Right Wing

Injuries have been cruel to this man, but he can hold his head high for his Champions Cup and league performances, and his Ireland cap which he won in November 2017 against the Argies.

One of the best under the high ball Ireland has produced, and produced many a memorable performance for Leinster.

Decided to call time on his career at just 29 years of age.

Mike Haley - Full Back

His performances for Munster have deserved more than a single cap, won against Italy in 2019.

Ireland are still searching for a bonafide back up to Hugo Keenan, so it is surprising he has not been given an opportunity in so long.

SEE ALSO: The Irish Players Vying For World Cup Places This Weekend

ireland irish rugby leinster munster ulster connacht urc harry byrne jordan larmour jack crowley

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by