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Eddie O’Sullivan returns to coaching as new Belvo head coach

The 58-year-old will take up his first senior coaching role since departing Biarritz Olympique last October.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND HEAD coach Eddie O’Sullivan will take the reins at Old Belvedere from next season following the departure of Paul Cunningham after four years at the helm.

O’Sullivan assisted the departing Cunningham during his final three months in charge during which his side were crowned Leinster Senior League champions.

The side, however, suffered relegation from the top flight while also losing both the Ulster Bank Bateman Cup and Leinster Senior Cup finals.

In confirming Cunningham’s departure on Wednesday, Club President Willie Norse thanked the long-serving head coach, who also acted as Director of Rugby during his tenure at the club.

“Paul Cunningham has stood down as head coach to our senior team. We thank him for his huge input over the last number of seasons, not only with the senior side, but also throughout our club, from Minis to Women’s to Juniors and Under-20s.”

Taking his place is 58-year-old O’Sullivan, whose last coaching role saw him take charge of Biarritz Olympique where he oversaw a 7th place finish in the Pro D2, departing just three games into the 2015/16 season following a poor start to the campaign.

“Eddie is fully committed to Old Belvedere, and he is already hard at work putting in place structures, speaking with our existing players and assisting with player recruitment, as we seek to strengthen our panel”, said Norse.

Eddie O'Sullivan talks to captain Ronan O'Gara Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

O’Sullivan has a wealth of experience coaching at the elite level of rugby, working with Connacht, the Barbarians, USA Eagles and Biarritz Olympique.

He guided the Ireland Under-21s to their first ever Triple Crown in 1996 and followed up in 2004 with Ireland’s first Triple Crown at senior level in 19 years.

The Corkman also coached Ireland at two Rugby World Cups, producing a 64% win ratio, three Triple Crowns, two spells at number 3 in the World Rugby Rankings during his seven-year tenure.

Wednesday also saw experienced hooker Ed Rossister confirmed as captain of Old Belvedere for 2017/18.

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Aaron Gallagher

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