Tough-tackling Garryowen flanker Peter Malone will move into coaching next season as forwards coach to his native Bruff.
Malone captained Garryowen for three seasons and was part of the Dooradoyle side that won a hat trick of senior titles last season – the AIB League Division One crown, the AIB Cup and the Munster Senior Cup.
A former AIB Club international skipper, he has again been to the forefront of Garryowen’s push to make the Division One play-offs this term and he lined out at number 8 in Saturday’s 34-13 win over UCD at Dooradoyle.
Although the forthcoming semi-final clash with Shannon on May 3 is very much on Malone’s mind, Bruff have decided to announce that he will be joining them next season as their forwards coach.
He will join the Limerick club’s current backs coach Eoin Cahill as forwards player-coach. Bruff had another year to remember, going unbeaten through the regulation phase in AIB League Division Three to secure promotion to the second tier.
But there was disappointment for Eugene Murnane’s side at Donnybrook on Saturday as Instonians beat them 32-23 in a thrilling Division Three play-off final.
Welshman Murnane is leaving the Kilballyowen Park outfit after three years with the club. A much-liked figure in AIB League circles, he did a huge amount of good work for the club, not just with the senior squad but at underage level in the club and across south Limerick.
A spokesman for Bruff confirmed: “This is a new departure for the club in having a dedicated forwards and backs player coaching team and I would like to welcome Peter on his return and wish both him and Eoin the very best for next season.”
Commenting on Murnane’s departure, he said: “Eugene’s work ethic, his input, the respect for players that he has and the respect that the players have for him are second to none.
“He has had a major input into the sport of rugby in south Limerick. In his post as Youth Development Officer for Bruff, he has brought the game of rugby and Tag rugby to over 19 schools over the last three years with four of these schools having Junior or Senior Cup teams for the very first time.”
Bruff hooker and captain Cathal O’Regan added: “I’d like to reiterate the respect that the players, as a whole, have for Eugene. We have enjoyed the time and the work that he has put in with us and we wish him all the very best for the future.”
Malone’s family have strong connections with Bruff RFC. His father Ger is a prominent official with the club and his two brothers, John and Simon, both play for the club. John started Saturday’s game against Instonians at outside centre.
Peter, who played for Ireland at Under-19 and Under-21 levels, admitted in an interview with IrishRugby.ie last year that one of his career highlights was ‘being a member of the Bruff team that won the All-Ireland Under-20 title.’
He also won Under-18 titles with them before moving to Garryowen in 2001.