New Irish rugby union manager announced

Updated: January 21, 2012

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The IRFU has appointed Michael Kearney as the new Irish Rugby Manager – he succeeds Paul McNaughton who recently stepped down from the role, and takes over just before the 2012 Six Nations gets under way.

Michael, from Dunboyne, County Meath, was a long time member of Lansdowne RFC winning both Cup (in 1981) and League (1976) medals before injury forced him to retire from the sport at the young age of 24, having by
then progressed to the Irish Under 23 side and taking part in Leinster trials.

Kearney, who began his love for sport whilst at Castleknock College, has been a very successful businessman combining this with his passion for rugby – he was Chairman of Lansdowne RFC in the early ’90′s before becoming Chairman in 1999/2000.
In 2009 he succeeded Phil Orr as Manager of the Ireland Under 20 squad winning the 6 Nations in 2010.

Commenting on the appointment, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: “Michael has a proven record over the last 30 years in rugby, but also as an independent business man of a particularly high standing.

“The role is one which requires a certain amount of experience and understanding of how the rugby environment operates in Ireland, but also with regards to representative teams and how they work.”

Michael Kearney said: “I am obviously delighted to take up the position as well as honoured to be involved with the team.

“My focus now is to get up to speed as soon as possible and give whatever support is necessary to Declan, the coaches and players as we head into the Championship.

“The role is multifaceted, but I am looking forward to the challenge. The transition is somewhat easier having had the experience of working with the IRFU. They have an incredibly professional staff working around the team, who will I am sure will help me adjust quickly.”

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney added: “In thanking Paul for his outstanding services to the team, I’m delighted to welcome Michael into the management team and look forward to working with him.

“The role is an important part of how the team functions and it’s excellent to have someone of his background to bring his organisational skills to the management group.”

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