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Fiona Hayes Returns As UL Bohemian Head Coach In 2023/24

Fiona Hayes and Mona Fejilu 22/10/2022

Energia Women's All-Ireland League Division 1, Tanner Park, Ballincolllig, Cork 22/10/2022 Ballincollig vs UL Bohemians Ballincollig’s head coach Fiona Hayes and Mona Fejilu Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Fiona Hayes has been appointed as UL Bohemian Head Coach ahead of the 2023/24 Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division and says she’s massively excited to return to the club.

The Limerick native finished up as Head Coach of Ballincollig in late December 2022 having overseen their first two campaigns in the Energia All-Ireland League.

It will be her second stint at the helm with the Red Robins – she was appointed ahead of the truncated season of 2019/20 before the AIL was suspended in 2020/21 due to COVID-19.

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“Anyone who knows me, knows my attachment to UL Bohs,” Hayes told IrishRugby.ie  “It’s where I started my rugby and I’ve never played with another club.”

“The vision for the club is huge for both women and men in rugby. The guys behind the scenes go about things the right way and the opportunity to coach with them again was something I couldn’t turn down.”

“Ross O’Callaghan and Niamh Briggs put in a huge shift in getting the numbers up and developing the talent. I came in to run a couple of scrum sessions with them towards the end of the season and there were 30/40 players in training.

“When I was playing there, there were a number of us older players coming to the end of the journey so it’s really exciting for me as a coach to see the younger players coming through and there’s a real buzz about the club.

Fiona Hayes and Niamh Briggs are just two of the increasing number of women involved in coaching at club and third level Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Fiona Hayes and Niamh Briggs celebrate – Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

“I’ve got a selection headache already and the season hasn’t even started yet!”

Hayes says she’ll take some fond memories away from her time with Ballincollig.

“They were such a special group of players to work with,” she said. “A lot of work went into laying the foundations for Ballincollig to build as an AIL team and the players never shied away from that.”

“A couple of girls also would have come up to the level of playing with Munster during our time as well and that was a very enjoyable part of the journey.

“I enjoyed my time down there and I wish all the girls all the best going forward. The AIL is a tough competition and Cork needs to be a stronghold for women in rugby.”