BLACKROCK College RFC have appointed former Terenure AIL Coach and Leinster, Munster and Ireland A player, James Blaney as the head coach of the men’s All-Ireland League team for the coming season.
Blaney began his professional playing career at Leinster in 1994 before joining Munster in 2000, where he spent five seasons with the province during which Munster became Heineken Cup finalists in 2002 and Celtic Cup (now Pro 14) winners in 2003.
After a professional playing career working with some of the best local and international coaches in Irish rugby, Blaney spent the last 15 years coaching at Terenure College RFC following a transition to coaching in 2006 as player coach and then assistant coach.
In 2012, Blaney was promoted to head coach, taking Terenure College RFC from Division 2A to 1B and later to Division 1A, during which time they reached the playoffs twice.
“We are thrilled to have a coach of James’s calibre join the club”, says Rugby Manager, Clinton Arblaster.
“Over the last number of years, the club management have invested significantly in our teams and infrastructure and this appointment signals our continued intent to drive the performance rugby section of the club.”
“I’m excited for this new challenge and can’t wait to get started”, says Blaney. “They have built a great platform here at Rock and I see massive potential for future success”.
Blaney takes over from current head coach and former player, Michael Carroll.
Michael Hearty, Director of Rugby commented: “Mick has led our Premier Rugby and academy agenda for the past two seasons, contributing significantly to a great crop of young talent being developed in the club. We would like to thank Mick for the huge amount of work he has put in and we wish him and Laura all the best for their next adventure in the US.”
Following the appointment of Blaney as head coach, Rock are seeking to appoint an assistant coach specialising in backs and attacking play.
On the field, Blackrock moved a step closer to avoiding relegation from Division 2A with a 28-27 win over Sligo at Stradbrook in their playoff semi-final.
Winger Philip Carter’s try after just 45 seconds spurred Sligo to a 22-9 half-time, scrum half Ryan Feehily also touching down and his half-back partner Mark But-ler’s cross-field kick teed up a timely third try for New Zealander Calum Goddard.
Despite Carter completing his brace during the second half, Sligo fell foul of referee Mark Patton’s whistle in alarming fashion and a series of sin-binnings left them desperately holding on at the finish.
It was not to be as Blackrock showed their experience with two late converted tries ensuring they edged out the Connacht side in dramatic circumstances.
Departing player-coach Mick Carroll’s final game in charge of ‘Rock will be a home play-off final against Rainey Old Boys, who ended Greystones’ hopes with a hard-fought 23-20 victory at Dr Hickey Park.