YORK City Knights have secured the signature of up-and-coming Irish international prop Michael Ronan on a one-year loan from Huddersfield Giants.

Having joined in 2019, Ronan made his debut, and thus far sole, appearance for the Super League outfit in 2020, while last season he spent time on loan at York's Betfred Championship rivals Whitehaven and Swinton Lions.

Ronan's acquisition finalises the initial make-up of head coach James Ford's squad for 2022 - and the 21-year-old is looking forward to jostling for position.

“Any good squad needs a bit of competition and it’s massive for the development of players," Ronan commented. "I think it’s huge for me to go into a squad where there are senior members who are going to be fighting to be in that seventeen each week.

“I need to really prove myself and it also means that I need to up my game. It means I can’t slack off because, at the end of the day, there will be someone right behind me ready to take the shirt off my back."

Ronan is a relative newcomer to rugby league, having only picked up the sport in 2017. His career picked up pace quite dramatically from there, though, and he had a trial at Huddersfield in 2018, then made his international debut in that same year.

In 2020, Ronan featured for NRL side Canberra Raiders' under-20s before turning out for Huddersfield in their 19-6 defeat to Grand Final runners-up Wigan Warriors.

Last season, Ronan made four appearances for Haven and Swinton, scoring a try at the LNER Community Stadium for the latter in the Knights' 1895 Cup semi-final win over the Lions.

He follows in the footsteps of Giants team-mate Aiden McGowan in coming to York on loan from the John Smiths Stadium.

“Aidan McGowan doesn’t stop talking about his time up at York, he absolutely loved it," Ronan said. "I think that might have been because he scored with his first touch – I’ve heard that story far too many times.”

“Aidan is one of my best mates and when he came to visit me in Ireland he was telling me all about his time at York. When I got the opportunity to come to York, I was over the moon. Aidan has been telling me all the great things about the club, from the facilities, the set-up and how professional it is for a Championship club.

“I played at York twice last year when I was on loan at Swinton and we faced a very good side but, more than that, the atmosphere from the fans was outstanding. They don’t stop chanting for the whole 80 minutes.

“The facility at the stadium, as well, is absolutely outstanding and they’re clearly a very good side. As Fordy has said to me, we’re looking to push even further this year and try to make it all the way up.

“It’s a very competitive side and I’m really looking forward to getting amongst it, getting around the lads and I’m really keen to rip in with a good Championship side in a competitive competition.”

On his new recruit, Ford added: “I’m pleased to strengthen our middle options with Ronan. He’s a hard-working and tough player that’s keen to add little bits to his game here and there.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him and helping him fulfil his potential.”

Explaining how he first got involved in rugby league, Ronan explained: “I wanted to play union, make it as a pro in that, and I took a year out as I wanted to change amateur club.

“The year out was tough for me because I wanted to play rugby, to have physical contact. I was playing games of football and hurling, going to the gym but nothing was doing it for me.

“Then I came across rugby league. I went to a training session and asked what the name of the amateur team was. They laughed at me and said, ‘You’re not playing for an amateur team, you’re playing for Ireland U17s.’”

And a motivating factor for Ronan will no doubt be a possible World Cup spot with Ireland during next year’s competition to add to the five caps he already has.

“With the World Cup pushed back a year, it’s another opportunity for me to get as many games as possible against grown men under my belt,” he said.

“It’s a huge, huge year for me to perform to my best to hopefully be picked to represent Ireland at the end of the year in the World Cup.

“It’s a really important year for me and I feel like there will be no better place than York for me to develop my game, really rip in and get some minutes playing against grown men.”