Former Wigan Warriors favourite McIlorum relishing chance to make history

McIlorum is returning to Wembley
McIlorum is returning to Wembley

Micky McIlorum has eyes on a place in history as he prepares to return to Wembley tomorrow.

The former Warriors hooker – a hugely-popular figurewith Wigan fans – is hoping to help Catalans Dragons clinch the club’s first piece of silverware.

A victory against Warrington would also see them become the first overseas outfit to win the Challenge Cup in its 121-year history.

McIlorum, a Wembley winner in 2011 and ‘13, said: “I’ve won it with Wigan, I think this will be a completely different experience but a great experience.

“I know how passionate the Catalans fans are, and I’m looking forward to trying to get the first silverware for this club.”

Catalans booked a place at Wembley after beating Super League pace-setters St Helens 35-16 in the semi-final earlier this month. “It was a very sweet victory,” said the 30-year-old.

“Being a... I nearly said, ‘Being a Wiganer’ then!

“But having played at Wigan for so long, it’s always nice to beat St Helens.

“Everyone thought Saints were in the final before they played us.

“We all believed we could do it and it’s just great to be there.”

McIlorum, a former England international, ended his decade-plus association with Wigan in the off-season to move to the south of France.

Steve McNamara’s Dragons endured a poor start to the campaign, but their form picked up and they climbed into the top-eight before the split for the Super-8s – as well as booking a Wembley spot.

“Because we had so many players at the World Cup we didn’t really have a pre-season together, and there were a lot of new faces,” said McIlorum.

“Once we got a settled team it helped us a lot, and in the last two or three months we’ve found some form and confidence.

“We’re all from different places and cultures but we’ve gelled together, and I’ve embraced it here.”

McIlorum and Dragons centre Iain Thorney, as well as Warrington’s Josh Charnley, were in the Wigan side which last won the Cup in 2013.

Ex-Warriors Lewis Tierney (Dragons) and Jack Hughes (Wolves) are also set to figure tomorrow after being named in the respective 19-man squads.