Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have confirmed the appointment of Nigel Carolan and Jimmy Duffy to Kieran Keane’s new Connacht senior coaching team ahead of the start of next season.
Nigel Carolan has held the role of Connacht Rugby Academy Manager since 2004 and has played a pivotal role in the identification and development of young talent across the province in that time.
The former Connacht back played with his home province from 1996 to 2000 before taking up a role as a Development Officer with Connacht and the IRFU. He went on to become the province’s first Academy Manager and has run the highly-regarded programme for the past 13 years.
Carolan has also worked as an assistant coach with the Ireland Under-20s from 2008 to 2010 before being appointed head coach of the side in 2015, ultimately leading the team to its first ever World Rugby U-20 Championship final last June.
Carolan’s former team-mate and fellow Galway man Jimmy Duffy has also been confirmed as a member of Kieran Keane’s backroom team for next season.
Duffy, who had previously held the role of Elite Player Development Officer with the Connacht Academy, was first appointed forwards coach ahead of the 2015/16 season and was part of the successful coaching team that led the province to the GUINNESS PRO12 title last summer.
Commenting on the coaching announcements, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “We are delighted that both Nigel and Jimmy will be part of the new-look coaching team under Kieran Keane. The fact that both are local coaches who have come through the Connacht system is a massive positive for the province and further illustrates our vision of ‘Grassroots to Green Shirts’.
“Jimmy is well established within the backroom team after two seasons as forwards coach and Nigel brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game from his time as Connacht Academy Manager and Ireland U-20 head coach.
“We are currently in the process of finalising the full makeup of the backroom team and we hope to have further news in the coming weeks.”
Carolan commented: “To coach at the top level in Connacht is a huge honour and I’m delighted to get this opportunity. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years working with the Academy and I am really proud of what we have achieved here.
“For me personally, I think the time is right to move on to a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to working with Kieran (Keane) and with Jimmy (Duffy) once again.”
Duffy added: “I’m delighted to be extending my time as coach with Connacht Rugby. The last two seasons have been hugely rewarding and I’m looking forward to working with Kieran and his new coaching team next season. For now, I’m fully focused on finishing this current season as strong as possible.”