Alex McCloy, who guided Armagh to promotion from Ulster Bank League Division 2B and a first ever Ulster Premiership title this season, will be part of the Ballymena coaching team next year.
Alex McCloy, John Nicholl, Gareth Fisher and Bryan Young, the former Ireland international who is currently a rugby consultant with Ulster Rugby, will join Ballymena head coach Andy Graham for the start of the 2017/2018 season
McCloy,a former Ballymena Academy student, was Ulster’s performance analyst and a key member of the backroom team that helped the province reach the 2012 European Cup final.
He had been in post since the start of the 2008/09 season, having previously attained a First Class BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Ulster as well as a PHD in Sport Bio Mechanics. He also holds a Level 6 Performance Analyst accreditation from the International Society of Performance Analysis in Sport.
“It’s obviously fantastic to be able to return to coach at my hometown club,” said McCloy, the former Ballymena and Belfast Harlequins scrum half who spent the last two seasons coaching City of Armagh RFC’s senior squad.
McCloy’s appointment is the final piece of the jigsaw in Ballymena’s off-field restructuring. He will be working alongside retained head coach Graham, with club stalwarts Nicholl and Fisher also involved.
Graham, who recently helped the Braidmen to a sixth place finish in Division 1B, said: “We finished this season as the highest-placed Ulster team in the All-Ireland League and I believe the young coaching team we have in place, combined with Alex’s experience within the professional set-up at Ulster, gives us the boost we need to mount a promotion push next season. Ballymena is the best place for any young aspiring players to develop and push for representative honours.”