Gearing up for the new Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2C season, Ballina Rugby Club have confirmed the appointment of Brian ‘Beano’ McClearn as their new senior head coach.
He succeeds New Zealander Joe McDonnell in the role, and arrives at Heffernan Park following head coach stints with NUIG, Galwegians, and the Connacht senior Women’s and Ireland Under-18 Women’s teams.
A native of Abbey-Duniry in east Galway, McClearn joined Galwegians in 1999 from Nenagh Ormond. He was a long-standing member of their senior squad.
A second row and lineout specialist, he captained the Galwegians senior side to promotion from All-Ireland League Division 2A to Division 1A in two consecutive seasons.
“It is a tremendous honour to be appointed head coach at Ballina,” commented McClearn. “The club are determined to cement their position in the All-Ireland League, and as the only senior rugby club in Mayo and one of five in Connacht.
“My job is to make sure that all of the playing resources at this prestigious club are maximised. I look forward to working with a team of committed and tremendously talented young players. I can’t wait to get started.”
He will be joined in the new Ballina coaching group by recently-retired player Aiden McNulty, who assumes an assistant coach position after hanging up his boots.
It is hoped that McNulty’s knowledge of the senior squads, and his deep insight into the club culture will facilitate a quick bedding-in period for the new head coach.
Ballina’s first challenge will be a clash with Sligo in the Connacht Senior League on Saturday, August 19. Their Energia All-Ireland League campaign begins on Saturday, October 7 with a home game against Clogher Valley.
The Moy men, who finished eighth in Division 2C in 2022/23, field men’s teams at both senior and junior level. Their senior men’s pre-season training commences at Heffernan Park next Wednesday (July 19), with all new and returning players welcome.