Galway Corinthians RFC have confirmed Michael Harding as their new Head Coach and Director of Rugby.

Harding, who is 33 and from Terryglass in Tipperary, replaces JP Cooney who stepped down at the end of last season following Corinthians’ run to the Energia League Division 2B Semi-Finals.

Having played for Nenagh Ormond and Portumna, Michael started his coaching career with Portumna in 2015 before spending two years with Buccaneers as assistant coach to their AIL team.

Michael also coached the Connacht Juniors in 2018 and in 2019 began a spell with Cistercian College Roscrea with their schools Senior Cup team. It was during this time that Michael introduced performance analysis into the school. He also was assistant to Pat Cunningham in Creggs and in July 2020 joined JP Cooney’s coaching staff at Corinthians as assistant coach and performance analyst.

Harding has his own performance analysis company called PPA where he has worked with other rugby and hurling clubs.

Speaking after the confirmation of his new position at Corinthian Park, Harding was excited to be taking over the role held by JP for the past four seasons.

“I’m very excited to be taking over the head coach role in Corinthians to build on the work JP has done over the last 4 seasons with the senior side. I believe we have built a squad that can take us to the next level.”

The incoming Director of Rugby at the club is also determined to work with all coaches in the club with the goal of developing the talent that is already there and making Corinthians a club that players, and coaches, will want to be involved with at all levels.

“As director of rugby I really look forward to working with all the coaches in our club as we put a game model approach in place for coach development.

“Corinthians is a fast growing club in a fast growing city; we have a lot of things going in our favour but need to work hard to take advantage of them.

“There is so much talent and hard working people in our club from players to coaches to the people behind the scenes. We need to keep working hard in our player development, player retention and coach development. We also need to get more rugby played in the schools around the club; this will improve boys and girls numbers in our minis and youths.

“I believe that Corinthians is a club ready to explode in terms of players and members, we just need to keep working to build a positive and inclusive environment where players want to come and be part of our club from minis to senior”

Harding’s coaching team for the upcoming season has also been confirmed with the news that Simon Gillespie is to retain his position with former forwards coach Pat Cunningham also returning to the set up following his time with Creggs.

All three will be very aware of the work ahead of them as Corinthians look to build on the success of last season that saw them moments from making the league final only to concede a try in the last minute to Greystones. Given the competitiveness of this league, it could be a very exciting time for the club, their players and the new Head Coach.

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