Kelly (49), was born in Wales, and educated in London, where he attended the renowned St. Mary's Twickenham teacher-training college. His love of rugby then took him to New Zealand, where he went on to pursue his teaching career over the last 20 years, which culminated in the post of Principal of St. Augustine's College secondary school in Wanganui.
An eager back-row player in his day for Athletic and Oriental/Rongatai in Wellington, Kelly soon developed a taste for coaching which he saw as a natural progression. His coaching career would see him take charge of every representative team in the Wanganui region from schools right through to the Wanganui NPC (National Provincial Championship) side. This also included a 3-year stint in charge of the NZ Under-16's, while he also coached the New Zealand secondary schools' XV for two years, during which time they were unbeaten.
Kelly's achievements at underage coaching meant that he was soon given the chance to taste coaching at senior level. He was in charge of the Wanganui NPC team for 5 years, and most recently he was coach to the Hurricanes B team. His extensive experience has given him access to some of the highest quality All Black coaches like Wayne Smith and Graham Mourie, and Kelly hopes to bring this experience to his new job. He has two primary goals for Galwegians; one is to consolidate the senior team's position in AIL Division 1, and the second is to further develop the club's Youth academy by working with the underage coaches.
Galwegians chairman Simon Heaslip welcoming his appointment said, "We are delighted to welcome Bernie Kelly to Galwegians as our new Head Coach. He has an extremely impressive coaching record in New Zealand, and he also brings an infectious enthusiasm for the game which can only have a positive impact within the club, so we all look forward to working with him.
Kelly himself is looking forward to the experience. Married to Maureen who is herself of Irish parentage, they have three daughters and are looking forward to moving to Galway in early July when he takes up his new post at Glenina.
Meanwhile it has also been reported that Jeremy Davidson will take over as head coach at Dungannon.