Ahead of their third season in the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division, Ballincollig have appointed New Zealander Mike Pettman as their new head coach.
He takes over from Fiona Hayes who has returned to take up the coaching reins at UL Bohemians. Ballincollig finished eighth in the Women’s Division last season, with their highlight coming when they beat Cooke 15-3 in November.
‘Collig also drew 10-all with Wicklow and ran UL Bohs close in an eventual 19-7 defeat, and with a powerful pack and some exciting backs, Pettman will be hoping to produce more consistent results.
He is no stranger to All-Ireland League and domestic club rugby having played for Dolphin during the early 2000s, while his most recent coaching appointment was with the Muskerry Men’s team in the Munster Junior League.
Pettman also had success in coaching the Manawatu Women’s side to two New Zealand National Sevens titles, before taking up a Technical Skills Development Coach position with Munster Rugby.
In the Sevens game, he has been involved in coaching the Ireland Under-18s, both male and female, and the Men’s Development squad. He was head coach of the Ireland U-18 Men’s side that won silver at last summer’s European Sevens Championship.
Speaking about his new position with Ballincollig, the former Manawatu and New Zealand Universities player commented: “I’m looking forward to developing players’ skills, providing opportunities and pathway to representative teams, and the team’s progression to playing enjoyable and attractive rugby.”
One of the most encouraging aspects of Hayes’ coaching tenure at Tanner Park was Ballincollig players breaking through to earn Munster honours, including elusive back-three specialist Heather Kennedy.
‘Collig duo Kennedy and Roisin Ormond both touched down during Munster’s Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial title-clinching win over Connacht last January. They are also part of this season’s provincial squad, along with club-mates Michelle O’Driscoll and Gillian Coombes.
Following the upcoming Women’s Interpros, Pettman’s first All-Ireland League game in charge of Ballincollig is a trip to Galwegians on Saturday, September 16. They host Suttonians the following week.