The Council, players and club members of Ballynahinch RFC have issued a statement to formally thank Derek Suffern for all his hard work over the past 11 years as he formally steps down as head coach.
Derek Suffern has transformed rugby at Ballynahinch RFC and is held and will continue to be held in the highest regard by all connected with the Co. Down club, who held onto their Ulster Bank League Division 1B status last Saturday.
It was the end of an era for ‘Hinch as Suffern bowed out on the back of a 40-10 defeat away to divisional champions Buccaneers. His final season saw the club win the Ulster Senior and Junior Cups as well as the Towns Cup and Crawford Cup in recent days.
‘Hinch famously won the All-Ireland Cup (2009) and three All-Ireland League titles during his tenure – Divisions 3, 2 and 1B – as well as an Ulster Senior Cup three in-a-row (2014/15-2016/17) and a hat-trick of Ulster Senior League crowns between 2012/13 and 2014/15.
“It’s been hugely enjoyable and bringing silverware to the club, as well as getting into Division 1A of the league, have been great highlights, but it’s time for a change,” he admitted.
The Ballynahinch club statement also noted ‘the manner in which Derek has managed his withdrawal from his position as head coach over the past year, to allow the club time to search for a suitable replacement’.
Ballynahinch Honorary Secretary Richard Hart added: “Derek’s influence on the career development of so many, now professional, players and club players is a testament to his abilities as a coach and mentor.
“We wish him continued success within the game and every best wish to the family as a whole. He will remain a ‘Hinch man and we look forward to seeing him regularly at Ballymacarn Park in the future.”