JOE Keyes hopes to reward his dad's long journey with a winning World Cup performance for Ireland.

Father John, a London development officer, is flying out to Australia to witness the Bulls half-back's tournament debut against Wales on Sunday.

Keyes is in Mark Aston's squad for what is likely to be the Wolfhounds' final appearance in the competition.

A second win in three games would still not be enough to make the quarter-finals unless United States pull off a shock against Papua New Guinea.

But it will be a dream occasion for Keyes, who has watched the opening two games from the sidelines after playing in Ireland's qualifying wins over Russia and Spain last year.

He said: "It would mean everything if I got picked. My dad is flying down and he's been a part of my journey since I was little, so to represent Ireland in a World Cup in Perth in front of him would be a dream come true."

The 22-year-old Londoner, who qualifies for Ireland through his Waterford-born grandfather, is set to receive his sixth international cap.

"If we don't qualify, we'll do everything in our power to finish on a high and put in our best performance yet," said Keyes.

"It would be a big achievement to get two wins out of three. I still can't really work out why only one team goes through from our group but three go through from other groups.

"I think to win two out of three and not go through would be a tough one to take – but they are the cards we're dealt and we'll be pleased with two out of three."

Little-fancied Ireland have been one of the success stories of the World Cup.

Keyes said: "I can't fault the boys' effort in the last two games. Against Italy it was outstanding and I thought we were unlucky not to get anything out of the game last weekend because I thought we matched PNG in most departments.

"We've turned a lot of heads in this tournament. Not many people expected much from us but the boys dug in and it's rewarding that we're making a bit of a name for ourselves.

"It's been amazing. We're all close as a group, a passionate bunch too, and we've gelled really well."