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Irish tag squads coaches appointed


Following a record number of applications and an extensive interview process, Irish Tag Rugby has appointed coaching teams for the eight international sides that will compete in the 2024 British & Irish Cup.


Trials for the 2024 season will take place in January. Further information, including selection arrangements for 2024, will be disseminated in due course.


Irish squads are elite invitational teams, open to all tag players in Ireland who compete in a minimum number of games in our 8-a-side leagues. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunity to represent Ireland email performance@tagrugby.ie.


Men's Open

Tom Cranley has been appointed Head Coach of the Men's Open side. Tom was assistant coach to David Keogh in 2022 and 2023, and has an active role in the Knights teams in Limerick and the University of Limerick Tag Rugby Wolves.


Tom's Assistant Coach is Paul McCullagh, who was captain of the Men's Open side that narrowly lost out on a bronze medal at August's World Cup.


Women's Open

Peter Connolly has been appointed Head Coach of the Women's Open side. Peter's international representative career stretches back to his selection for Men's Open in 2016, for whom he has also served as captain. He currently coaches the Dublin-based KPMG ladies squads.


Sarah Jane Gavin will serve as Assistant Coach. SJ is a well-known figure on the tag scene, and is one of few Irish players with two World Cup silver medals. She most recently captained the Women's 35s team that won silver in the World Cup, and is the player-coach of the Limerick Women's Seniors.


Mixed Open

David Keogh has been appointed as Head Coach of Mixed Open. David was assistant coach in this category in 2021, and assumed the role of Head Coach of Men's Open in 2022. The team narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2023 World Cup. In addition to his coaching career, he has represented Ireland at Men's and Mixed Open.


Men's 30s

Aonghus Ó Briain has been appointed as Head Coach of Men's 30s. Aonghus was part of the Men's 30s team that won a silver medal in the 2023 Tag World Cup following a narrow 4-2 final defeat to Australia. In 2022 he won Nationals as a coach for Dublin Wolves Mixed Development.


Jack Levins will serve as Assistant Coach. Jack has represented Ireland at Men's Open, Mixed Open and Men's 30s and like Aonghus was part of the Men's 30s side that took silver in August's "home" world cup.


Mixed Senior

Alex Mullin - Irish Tag Rugby's Head of Performance - will reassume the role of Head Coach of the Irish Mixed Senior side. Alex was a co-coach of the side with Billy Leahy in 2018 and Dave Hayes in 2019 and 2021, and sole Head Coach in 2022 and 2023. Alex has extensive experience representing Ireland at international tag, stretching back to the early 2000s, and an equally storied career as a tag coach.


Karen Howard will serve as Assistant Coach. 2023 was Karen's third Tag World Cup; she was part of the Mixed Open side in 2015 and the Mixed Seniors in 2018. She has a wealth of tag experience from Ireland and abroad and has excelled in a variety of high-level competitions.


Women's Seniors

Jack Leahy has been re-appointed as Head Coach of Women's Seniors. With Valerie Power, he was head coach of the Irish Women's 30s in 2022 and 2023. Jack has won three Nationals titles as a coach with Dublin Wolves, and served as manager in the 2019 and 2021 overall title winning years.


Valerie Power will serve as Assistant Coach. Valerie has an extensive tag and rugby union coaching CV, and was a player-coach for the Women's Seniors in 2022 and 2023. She has played at three World Cups in both Mixed Open and Women's Seniors, and has a silver and bronze medal to her name.


Women's Masters

Cliff Callanan has been appointed as Head Coach of Women's Masters. Cliff was Head Coach of the Men's 40s team that took a silver medal from the 2023 World Cup, and previously won a bronze medal as part of the coaching setup with Great Britain Men's 30s. He has coached the Limerick Women's sides for the last six seasons.


Clare Cullen Mullin will serve as Assistant Coach. Clare is the current manager of the Dublin Wolves representative squads, and has played at two World Cups at Mixed Senior and Women's Senior. She has a bronze medal from the 2023 World Cup as part of the Women's Seniors.


Men's 40s

David Hayes will has been appointed as Head Coach of the Men's 40s. David has played three World Cups at Men's Open, Men's 30s and Mixed Senior and won a bronze medal with the latter in 2023. He has coached the Cork Women's Open team to two consecutive national titles and was co-coach of Mixed Senior between 2019 and 2021.


Paul McDermott will serve as Assistant Coach. Paul led the Clare region for successive nationals campaigns and established the West Coast Pirates tag club in Clare & Limerick. As a member of the organising committee for the Limerick region, he has coached the Limerick Mixed Seniors in successive Nationals campaigns.


Development

ITRA’s elite tag development programme will work to progress players into the international programme with a specific emphasis on players 21 years old and younger. It will be led by:

  • Darragh Kennedy - Head Coach of the 21s programme. "DK" served as Head Coach of Ireland’s first-ever Women’s 21s team in 2023.

  • Sarah Carey Miller - Sarah will serve as Head of Recruitment for 21s players and was Assistant Coach of the W21s team in 2023

  • Alan O’Brien (21s Coach) - Alan represented Ireland at the 2015 Tag World Cup and has been active in coaching ever since. He currently coaches the UL Wolves tag rugby team, in addition to Knights in our Limerick leagues. He served as Head Coach of Ireland’s first-ever Men’s 21s team in 2023.

  • Christine Woods (21s Coach) - Christine has represented Ireland at Women’s Seniors and Women’s 35s in addition to her coaching experience in a variety of sports and age groups



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