Connacht Rugby are happy to confirm the coaching team for the upcoming 2019 Junior Interprovincial Series. Mike Harding
has been appointed Connacht Juniors Head Coach, taking over from Gavin Foley. The current Head Coach of Buccs J1 side and former coach of Portumna has an infectious passion for coaching and a work rate which would be fitting in the professional game. This season has seen Mike take on a number of coaching responsibilities with the Buccs AIL side and the Junior representative side will add further experience to a growing CV.
Mike will be assisted by Pat Cunningham
and Henry O'Toole
who have been appointed assistant coaches. Pat has returned to his home club with a wealth of experience having previously both played and coached AIL side Corinthians. His Creggs side have earned a great deal of respect this season as one of the most organised teams in the league. Pat will take responsibility for the forward play of the representative side.
Henry meanwhile is a man who does not require an introduction to the Connacht Rugby community. Having represented Corinthians and Connacht, Henry was instrumental as both a player and coach in Connemara meteoric rise into the All Ireland League. The highlight of his tenure was in 2002 when Connemara defeated Trinity in Lansdowne Road to win the division 4 title. Whether with underage or senior teams Henry has always given his time back to the game and his experience will be a great addition to the Connacht Juniors.
Mike Harding, Connacht Rugby Juniors Head Coach, says: “I’m thrilled to be appointed the next head coach of the Connacht Juniors. This is a great opportunity for me to work with the best junior rugby players in the province along with my two assistant coaches Pat Cunningham and Henry O’Toole. It’s hugely important for us to get the best players possible representing this side so that will be one of my main aims off the pitch. We’ll be going to clubs and talking to the players, the coaches and making lots of contact to ensure we do that. On the field I’ll be looking to challenge the players in every training session by testing their skills and making them better players.
Eamonn Molloy, Connacht Rugby Coach Development Officer, says: "Gavin Foley has worked closely with Mike in the preparation of the Connacht Juniors plan and we are delighted with the coaching team he has assembled. We have a ticket that includes the best coaches in the junior league with a mix of experience, that will compliment and challenge each other. I would like to take the opportunity to wish Mike and his team well and offer all the support available from Connacht Rugby."