Brian McLaughlin has resigned as Ballynahinch head coach with immediate effect. It is believed that he informed the players on Tuesday night, with the announcement coming a few days after their Energia Community Series defeat to Queen’s University.
McLaughlin rejoined the Ballynahinch coaching team three years ago for his third stint at the club. He guided the Co. Down outfit to the Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B title and automatic promotion in 2018/19, a year which also saw them crowned Ulster Rugby Premiership champions.
A statement from ‘Hinch revealed: “Brian considered stepping down at the end of last season but, given the uncertainty surrounding the restart of rugby, he agreed to stay on to provide continuity heading into the 2020/21 season.
“He has now decided it is the right time for him to leave. Brian had a very successful three seasons back at Ballymacarn Park with the Division 1B and Ulster Premiership double the obvious highlight.
“Ballynahinch RFC would like to thank Brian for his unstinting hard work and commitment to the club over three spells in a relationship going back almost two decades. We wish him all the best and will always regard him as a ‘Hinch’ man.”
Famed for his role in guiding ‘Hinch to Grand Slam success in 2009, McLaughlin followed up by steering Ulster to a Heineken Cup final appearance in 2012. The ex-RBAI teacher was skills coach to the Ireland senior team during Eddie O’Sullivan’s tenure.