Malone have gone ‘in-house’ with the appointment of new coaches for their senior Women’s teams.
Taking over from Jamie McMullan, Malone will by guided by joint-head coaches Dave Cave and Austen Blackburn when the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division kicks off in September.
Captained by out-half Peita McAlister, the Cregagh Red Sox found results tough to come by during the 2021/22 league, although they did beat Galwegians and Ballincollig during the first half of the season.
McAlister and her team-mates did manage to finish the campaign with silverware thanks to a 53-0 victory over Cavan in April’s Energia All-Ireland Women’s Shield final.
Cave, the captain and a real star of the Malone men’s side, is joined on the new coaching ticket by Blackburn, an experienced prop and a longstanding Malone clubman.
Blackburn, who played for 14 years at All-Ireland League level, spent three years coaching the Belfast Harlequins Women. He steered ‘Quins to a mid-table finish last year and Ulster Junior Shield success.
“I am really excited to be given the opportunity to work with such a talented group of players at Malone Women,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to working to develop the team and squad, so that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Energia All-Ireland League this coming season and moving forward.”
Cave and Blackburn be supported by a new team manager. Lynn Wilson, who has been part of the set-up since the early days of Women’s rugby at Malone.
Shane Johnstone, who has played for Grosvenor, will be the Malone Women’s 2nd XV coach and he will be assisted by Andrew Pollock. Pollock brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked with Cooke and Queen’s University.