Ballynahinch Rugby Club has announced that Charlie McAleese is to join Derek Suffern as the backs and attack coach to ‘Hinch’s senior squad.
Charlie McAleese will rekindle his his coaching partnership with Derek Suffern, the pair having coached the Ireland Under-19s for the 2006 and 2007 World Championship campaigns.
McAleese has a very distinguished coaching pedigree. At present he is vice-Principal of Killicomaine Junior High School in Portadown and prior to that he was a PE teacher and rugby coach in Dromore High School.
It is interesting to note that six for his prodigies from Dromore featured in Ballynahinch’s memorable Grand Slam run during the 2008/09 season when they scooped an All-Ireland League and Cup double and an Ulster League and Cup double.
As a coach, McAleese has worked with Ulster at Under-16, Under-18, and Under-21 level and he was assistant soach to the Ulster senior side in 1998, the year before they won the European Cup.
A two-year spell with Portadown followed when they were in All-Ireland League Division 2, and he then went on to coach the Ireland U-18 and Youth teams.
In 2006, he was appointed coach of the Ireland Under-19 side and brought Derek Suffern into the coaching set-up to work on skills and contact. They took Ireland to the U-19 World Championship in Dubai and then in 2007 it was the unforgettable World Championship in Belfast.
Suffern moved on to join Ballynahinch in the 2007/08 seaso, while McAleese remained with the Irish U-19s for their final two internationals before the Under-20 grade took over the World Championship stage.
Commenting on his appointment at Ballymacarn Park, McAleese said: “I am delighted to be working with ‘Suff’ again, we worked very well together in the past and I have enormous respect for him.
“After I finished my stint with the Ireland U-19s, I stepped back from the game for a while and have enjoyed watching from the touchline, especially last year when ‘Hinch did so well.
“When I was approached to get involved at Ballymacarn Park next season I agreed to do so because of the culture at the club.
“Ballynahinch are special, the people behind the scenes and the players have a tremendous work ethic, a real desire to be successful and that is what impressed me.
“I am really looking forward to working with everyone in the challenge to get back into Division 1 next year.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Soper, the former ‘Hinch out-half and assistant coach, is to take over the coaching duties at his former club Banbridge.
Everyone at ‘Hinch wishes Soper all the very best for the future and thanked him for his considerable contribution, both as a player, and as assistant coach since 2005.
Bann enjoyed a good season in All-Ireland League Division 3 this term, finishing fourth behind Nenagh Ormond and the promoted Midleton and Queen’s University. Bann can look forward to challenging for promotion next season.
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