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Italy international McKinley joins coaching team at AIL club Rainey Old Boys

The 30-year-old left Italian club Benetton over the summer.

ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE club Rainey Old Boys RFC have announced the signing of Italy international Ian McKinley as their backs coach ahead of the 2020/21 season.

The Division 2A club confirmed the addition of McKinley yesterday evening in what is a big boost for the side from Magherafelt.

ian-mckinley McKinley has joined Rainey Old Boys. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

30-year-old Dublin native McKinley left Italian Pro14 club Benetton when his contract expired over the summer, returning to Northern Ireland with his wife, Cordelia, a native of County Derry.

McKinley has now agreed to link up with Rainey Old Boys, joining director of rugby Brian Smyth and head Coach John Andrews’ staff.

Former Ulster underage lock Ronan McCusker, who has played in Major League Rugby in the US in recent seasons, is set to captain the club for the 2020/21 campaign, which is due to start next month the provincial Energia Community Series before the AIL launches in January 2021.

McKinley’s rugby knowledge could be valuable for Rainey Old Boys in the season ahead, with the former Leinster out-half having coached throughout his eight years in Italy.

Ex-Italy boss Conor O’Shea has gone on the record in the past to state his belief that McKinley will be an excellent coach.

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McKinley moved to Italy for a coaching role in the first place, having been forced to retire from his professional playing career with Leinster after losing the sight in his left eye.

italys-ian-mckinley McKinley playing against Ireland last summer. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The ex-Ireland U20 international returned to playing in Italy, however, wearing protective goggles and rising through the ranks of Italian rugby to play for Zebre and then sign permanently with Benetton in 2016.

Having qualified via the residency rule, McKinley made his Italy debut in 2017 and has won nine caps in total – including three against Ireland – but he narrowly missed out on making their World Cup squad last year.

Having returned to Ireland over the summer, it remains to be seen if McKinley will continue to play rugby himself next season and beyond, but Rainey Old Boys are thrilled to have added him to their coaching staff. 

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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