Garryowen FC have announced the apoointment of former first team player Conor Kilroy as Under-21 coach. He will be joined in the set-up by former team-mate John Staunton, with Joe Brooks also appointed to the role of U-21 team manager.
One of trio’s key roles will be to provide the link between the Garryowen Academy and the underage players as they progress towards the Garryowen senior squad.
Conor Kilroy retired at the end of last season having amassed in excess of 1,200 AIB League points.
His classic kicking style and phenomenal strike rate was pivotal in winning many a game for Garryowen and he also turned out for Blackrock College when studying in Dublin.
He played most of his rugby at full-back but was no stranger to the wing position either.
Conor was educated at Crescent Comprehensive and won a Munster Senior Schools Cup medal in 1994. From there he progressed to play for Munster at Schools and Under-21 level.
He was capped at Schools and U-21 level and also played for the Irish Universities. He had a spell with the Connacht senior side before returning to Dooradoyle.
He was an integral part of 2006/07 Garryowen FC ‘Grand Slam’ winning side that annexed the Munster Senior Cup, AIB Cup and AIB League Division One title.
Proof of his longevity at the top is reflected in the fact that he won his first Munster Senior Cup with Garryowen back in 1997.
A giant of a man on and off the field, John Staunton brings a can do attitude to the squad. Work on the family farm in Galbally gave the amiable prop a head start in the strength stakes and by the time he lined out for St. Munchin’s College, he was indeed a formidable opponent.
He joined Garryowen and was a regular on the first team through a number of AIB League campaigns.
His efforts were finally rewarded in 2006/07 when not content with AIB League, AIB and Munster Cups – he added a Munster Junior Cup medal to his haul.
He was player-coach to Nenagh Ormond when they won the Munster Junior Challenge Cup and also assisted Kilfeacle.
His coaching career really took off when he was the forwards coach for the successful Castletroy College team that won the Munster Schools Senior Cup.
John comes from a great sporting family. His brother Willie is currently out-half in Dooradoyle, while the Ireland-capped Jeremy has recently joined Leicester Tigers.
Joe Brooks completes the new Garryowen Under-21 line-up as team manager. If you were selecting a role model in terms of club commitment you would have to look no further than ‘Brooksie’, who played with Garryowen from 1985 to 2004.
A strong and elusive centre, Joe won Munster Senior Cups in 1997 and 1999. He also won a Munster Junior Cup in 1993.
He played for Munster at U-20 level and also lined out for the Irish Universities. He was an Irish Colleges Cup winner with UL in 1994 and 1995.
Announcing the new structure, Chairman of Rugby, former international flanker Michael Sherry, expressed his satisfaction that such experienced and committed clubmen as Conor, John and Joe were embarking on coaching careers that would lead the future development of young players at Dooradoyle and continue to foster excellence through the Academy.
The Garryowen FC Academy, founded in 2001, has proved a fantastic success for the club in terms of developing young players to progress to the senior team, Munster and Ireland.
Four graduates from last year’s Academy have already played for Munster this season.
Michael Sherry (hooker), Andrew Burke (out-half), Conor Murray (scrum half) and Ronan O’Mahony (winger) were part of the Munster squad that beat Sale Sharks in a pre-season friendly at Musgrave Park last month.
The all conquering 2006/07 Garryowen team included no fewer than 11 players who honed their skills at the Dooradoyle nursery. Damien Varley and Ciaran O’Boyle are also currently contracted to Munster.
Greig Oliver is the Technical Director of the Academy which is chaired by Gerry O’Mahony.
With the focus on developing top class U-21 players, the club has devised a coaching structure which promotes a strong link between the Academy and U-21 squad.