Nigel Carolan leaves U20s to take up Connacht post

Peter Malone to take charge of underage side for Junior World Championship

Nigel Carolan will step down as Ireland under-20 head coach after a very successful time in charge to take up the position under a new Connacht coaching ticket headed by Kieran Keane from next season. Jimmy Duffy was also promoted to the backroom team.

Carolan, who led the Ireland team to the Junior (U20) World Championship final last year where they were beaten by hosts England, having become the first Irish men’s national team to beat New Zealand en route to the final, will step down with immediate effect.

His assistant coach, Peter Malone, will act as interim head coach to the Irish 20s for the Junior World Championship in Georgia in June. Ulster's academy director and former Ireland international scrumhalf Kieran Campbell will coach the backs during the tournament.

Carolan, who leaves a rich legacy with the national underage side, said: “To coach at the top level in Connacht is a huge honour and I’m delighted to get this opportunity. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years working with the [Connacht] Academy and I am really proud of what we have achieved here.

“For me personally, I think the time is right to move on to a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to working with Kieran and with Jimmy once again.”