St Helens sign youngsters Aaron McCloskey and Ian Cross

Ian Cross (left), Brendan Guilfoyle (Ireland), Ian Talbot (St Helens) and Aaron McCloskey (right)
Cross (left) and McCloskey (far right) recently made their Ireland A debuts

St Helens have signed Irish youngsters Aaron McCloskey and Ian Cross, who impressed while on trial at the club.

The pair, from Limerick, will be placed in a foreign domestic league and will return to Saints for pre-season training ahead of the 2012 campaign.

"They're two guys with a lot of talent," Rugby League Ireland general manager Gordon Matthews told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"They're signing for Saints and going to get some intensive training now."

St Helens were one of a number of Super League clubs who attended Rugby League Ireland's inaugural Talent Identification Academy that took place in Limerick in May, where both players were identified as potential future stars and given a trial.

"It's a massive leap for them and we're really delighted with it," Matthews continued. "We're also really delighted with St Helens for their faith in them.

"Young Ian Cross plays centre or at half. He's a really talented young lad, who's in really good physical condition.

"Aaron is a six foot seven prop forward who is really quite imposing on a rugby field when you see him there."

Both players have come from a rugby union background.

The pair recently made their Ireland A debuts and could feature for Ireland in the Autumn internationals against Samoa & France at Thomond Park in their hometown of Limerick later this year.