Dungannon Rugby Club have announced the appointment of a new coaching team for the 2014/15 season, as they look to bounce back from their relegation from Ulster Bank League Division 1B.
Outgoing head coach Paddy Johns stays in the mix with former Dungannon player Nigel Brady returning as forwards coach. Brady, a former Ulster and Ireland 'A' hooker who is currently in France with Aurillac, has recently been forced to retire from playing through injury.
He was a prominent schoolboy rugby player at Royal School Dungannon having been capped a number of times for Ulster and Ireland Schools. He then graduated to the senior squad at Dungannon in 1998 and was a member of the All-Ireland League winning side of 2001.
Brady will be assisted by his former Ulster Schools colleague David Irwin who is joining from Lisburn RFC as assistant forwards and development coach.
Mark Henderson is also remaining on from the existing coaching team and he assumes the role of coaching co-ordinator, responsible for assisting with the coaches and other coaching duties along with the recruitment and development of young players.
Henderson has been involved with coaching and managing a number of sides at Stevenson Park and also led the Sevens squads to success at the Carrick Sevens on a number of occasions, including at this year's tournament.
Outgoing Dungannon club President Paul Magee is excited by the new appointments, stating: "I have played with both Nigel and David and know their rugby abilities. Nigel is no stranger to Dungannon and whilst we are all disappointed he has had to finish his playing career early, we are excited he has chosen his home club as the place to begin his coaching career.
"We have targeted our men and believe they will do a good job at Dungannon, developing players and returning the first team to the premier division of the Ulster Bank League.
"Dungannon has always been a development ground for young ambitious players and with these additions to our current coaching team, we will be well placed to continue that tradition and bring all levels of Dungannon rugby back to the standards we set for ourselves.
"Over this season we have used many players new to the AIL and along with potential new recruits, they will benefit greatly from the quality coaching and high level experience available to us next season."
Former Ulster and Ireland lock Johns, who is stepping down after two seasons as 'Gannon's head coach, added: "Nigel will be an enthusiastic young coach who will bring fresh ideas and a new momentum to the club. He continues the long tradition of former Dungannon players, who, like me, have proudly taken on the role of coach of their home club.
"He and David Irwin will have plenty of support from Mark and entire club. I believe coaching, like playing, is now a team effort where we depend on each other for support and ideas.
"We should be open to constructive criticism as well. It is better to get it wrong on the training ground than on the pitch on a Saturday."
Dungannon are continuing to seek the appointment of a backs coach to complete their coaching team, however with this announcement the Tyrone side can begin the important steps of building for next season.
Hailing Johns as 'a great servant to Dungannon for the last two years', the club thanked him for his continued support and commitment to the Stevenson Park outfit.
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Simple tips for young players to keep healthy throughout the season - 'Eat Well, Stay Well, Play Well' - it will benefit you on and off the field. For more check out #Eat2Compete or www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete
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