4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
He represented Ireland at Youths and Schools level during this time and was the first player to play with both those sides.
He won a Triple Crown with the Ireland Schools side and went on an unbeaten tour to Australia as part of the same squad.
Bracken played All-Ireland League rugby with UL Bohemians in the old Division 3 and Galwegians, and won numerous senior Connacht League and Senior Cup titles with Galwegians along with playing in a Division 1 semi-final with Galwegians.
He represented Munster six times during his time with UL Bohs, and was part of the extended Munster panel in 2000 when they reached their first Heineken Cup final againt Northampton Saints.
He also lined out with Connacht for four yearsl playing in two Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals. He then moved to London Wasps where he had two very successful seasons, winning the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2006 and the Heineken Cup in 2007.
Bracken also represented a 'world 15' side and the Barbarians (against England) during his time at Wasps. Since Wasps, he has played for Bristol, Harlequins and French side Carcassonne.
He won seven Ireland 'A' caps and also toured New Zealand, Australia and Argentina with the Ireland senior squad. He was part of the extended 37-man panel before the last Rugby World Cup in 2007.
Commenting on his new role at Connemara RFC, he said: "I am delighted to be appointed head coach of the Connemara All Blacks for this coming season.
"I have just finished playing professional rugby after an enjoyable season with Carcassonne in France. By the way it's a lovely place for any Connacht fans to visit if they are heading to the Toulouse game in October.
"I've done a lot of coaching during my years as a professional player and have worked with many of the Academy sides at the clubs that I've played with.
"I've also worked with various amature club teams, mainly in England. I've set up a consultant scrum coaching business called 'the Scrum Doctor', which I'll be pursuing outside of my role within the club, but neadless to say Connemara is my main priority this year.
"This is my first job as a head coach so it's a new and exciting challenge for me. I'm confident in my ability as a coach and I aim to bring a greater element of professionalism that maybe might have been a bit lacking in the club previously."
A youthful Connemara team failed to win a match in Division 3 of the Ulster Bank League last season. Bracken's charges, who have been training away in Clifden, will be hoping to hit the ground running when the restructured Division 2B begins in October.
"I appreciate the faith the club administrators have show in appointing me and I guarantee I will do everything in my power to help bring about a successful season for the club," he added.
"Success will not come without the effort and commitment of the players and the support of the Connemara people. I urge our supporters to come out and watch our games.
"We will be playing an enjoyable and expansive running game. We need numbers at training to get our preparation correct. I've been encouraged with the skill level and commitment of the guys who have been training so far.
"I thank those lads for that but we will not win anything if the numbers don't start to increase soon. Those guys not training need to get on board soon if they want to play.
"We're going to have a right crack at teams this year, so don't miss out."
The next generation of Connemara All Blacks will be coming on board at the upcoming Family Fun Fest & Registration Day at the Monastery Field on Sunday, August 21. Click on the link or call Irene on 0879017406 for further details.