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20 January 2020; Head coach Noel McNamara speaking during an Ireland Rugby Under-20 Six Nations Squad Announcement at Fota Island Resort in Cork. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Mills man to take up coaching role with SA rugby franchise

Champion Chatter

O’CALLAGHAN’S MILLS native Noel McNamara has been appointed to a prestigious coaching role with a South African franchise, the IRFU has confirmed.
Noel, from Silvergrove, was previously manager of the Leinster Academy and head coach of the Ireland U-20s from 2018 to 2020, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019. On Twitter, Noel confirmed that he is to take up a role with the Durban-based Sharks.
“I am grateful to the IRFU and Leinster Rugby for helping to facilitate this move which will be another great learning and development opportunity for me as a coach,” he said.
“I have received great support to date on my coaching journey garnering experience with multiple underage teams, exposure to senior provincial and national coaches and getting the opportunity of a three month placement with North Harbour in New Zealand. This appointment is exciting for both me and my family and I am looking forward to getting started.”
After his studies at The University of Limerick (UL), Noel took up a teaching role at Glenstal Abbey where his coaching journey began. An eight-year stint at Glongowes Wood in Kildare, produced two Leinster Senior Schools Cup titles during Noel’s time at the helm.
In 2016, he joined the IRFU’s elite player pathway team as a development officer at Leinster. He has coached both the Ireland and Leinster schools representative teams as well as Leinster U-19s, U-20s and Leinster A.
“Noel is a smart ambitious young coach who has achieved success at underage level,” David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director said.
“This is an exciting senior role for Noel in South Africa where he will be exposed to a different rugby and coaching culture and which will no doubt greatly benefit his development.
“Noel has progressed through the coaching pathway in Ireland and in recent discussions with Noel, it was clear that he was in need of a fresh challenge that would help accelerate his coaching career.
“We looked at different environments and what could be a good fit and this definitely offers a fantastic opportunity in a senior role. Noel’s time in South Africa is sure to benefit Irish Rugby in the future. We wish him well and will be monitoring his progress closely.”

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