Having considered many suitable candidates, Dolphin RFC have confirmed their senior coaching team which has a strong presence of former Dolphin players – many of whom started with the club’s underage sides and have also had coaching and playing experience with other clubs.
The new Dolphin head coach is Feargus O’Donoghue, the club’s present director of rugby. O’Donoghue, a former senior player who has strong coaching background with Dolphin.
He has had coaching spells with PBC Cork, including a victorious Bowen Shield side, UCC (Dudley Cup winners), Muskerry, the Munster Under-21s and Munster Women (Interprovincial winners).
He took a break from coaching a number of years ago to take up the director of rugby role at Dolphin, but coaching is his real passion and he is delighted to move into the senior coaching position.
The vastly-experienced Barry Keeshan, one of the highest points scorers in the Ulster Bank League since its inception in 1991 and the highest capped Ireland Club international, will once again have a player-coach role with the backs.
Former Munster prop Darragh Hurley, whose brother Paul is Dolphin’s joint fifth highest league try scorer, will be the specialist front row coach. The forwards coach is Dave Pomeroy, who led Dolphin to the club’s only All-Ireland title – Division 2 (now Division 1B).
John Aherne will act as specialist skills coach. The Aherne name is synonymous with Dolphin since the 1940s through his father Gerald. John learned his rugby through Dolphin youths and UCC before returning to Dolphin and later won a Senior Cup medal with Lansdowne and was capped by Munster.
Brendan Mills will fill the role of sports coach psychologist. He scored a match-winning try quite a few years ago to bring Dolphin its last Under-18 Cup before going on to play senior rugby for Old Wesley. He coached a successful Bowen Shield team in PBC as well as being head coach for a couple of J1 clubs.
Adam Sheehan, another player who came up through the underage sides, is an experienced strength and conditioning coach with the Munster senior side and Ireland Under-19s and he will look after the Dolphin squad’s fitness.
After many years as Under-20 coach and team manager, Kieran ‘Diesel’ McCarthy takes over as senior team manager. And finally, Alan Hickey continues as kit manager – he also has this role for the Ireland Club international squad and has done so previously for the Munster U-20s.
Welsh lock Chris Rowe has been elected as Dolphin’s club captain. He has been an inspirational figure for the team and last season became just the eighth Dolphin player to make his 100th Ulster Bank League appearance for the club, with the aforementioned Keeshan and Pomeroy also on that centurion list.
Rowe earned representative honours with Wales Under-21s in 2002 in a very talented squad which included nine future full internationals. Five of them went on to play for the British & Irish Lions – Mike Philips, Gavin Henson, Adam Jones, Ryan Jones and Andy Powell.