The IRFU have confirmed the appointment of former Munster U21 Manager, Niall O Shea, as Manager of the Irish U21 team. O Shea is delighted with the appointment saying it s a big challenge for me and I m really looking forward to it. Having thoroughly enjoyed being involved with Munster, Managing the national side is another step up and a great honour.
Niall O Shea s progress through the ranks from club to national management has been steady and rapid. He first became involved in coaching in the late 1990 s with Shannon U.20 s and Shannon 2nd XV. He then progressed onto the team management of Shannon 1st XV, with Pat Murray and then Conor McDermott as Coach. His experience with Shannon led directly to his appointment as Manager of the Munster U21 team, where he remained from 2002/3 to 2004/5. During that time, Munster U21 s won two Interprovincial titles.
His former colleague in the Munster U21 set up, Brian Hyland, also stepped up a gear last year with his appointment as Coach of the Ireland U19 team.
Since leaving the provincial set up last year, he has been turning his talents to the Shannon youth section, coaching the Shannon U.10 team. Niall believes "it is important to try and give something back and it is great to see the amount of people who give freely of their time in every club throughout Ireland helping to maintain the lifeblood of Irish rugby".
Preparation for the U21 Six Nations will begin in the next few months, with the Irish U21 team basing themselves at Buccaneers RFC in Athlone as their home ground for this season. The IRB World Championships in France beckons in June of next year.
Niall started off his rugby career playing underage in Shannon and Crescent College Comprehensive, building up to a very successful Senior career with Shannon that included winning two AIL League medals and six Munster Senior Challenge Cup medals.
Niall is also looking forward to linking up with his ex-club mate Mark McDermott, who is again Coach of the Irish U21 s for his third season.