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More change at Connacht as forwards coach Jimmy Duffy confirms exit

The news follows last week’s announcement that attack coach Nigel Carolan is also leaving.

Connacht forwards coach Jimmy Duffy.
Connacht forwards coach Jimmy Duffy.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

FRESH OFF THE back of last week’s announcement that attack coach Nigel Carolan is to step down at the end of the season, Connacht have today confirmed that Jimmy Duffy will also be leaving his role as forwards coach.

The news means head coach Andy Friend is now facing a major reshuffle of his coaching team. 

Duffy has held the position of forwards coach since June 2015, and was also part of the coaching ticket during Connacht’s historic Pro12 winning season in 2015/16. He was previously elite player development officer with the Connacht Academy, and represented the province more than 20 times during his playing career.

Duffy confirmed the news via a statement on the Connacht website and explained that his decision is based on a desire to further his development as a coach, something which Carolan also touched on while explaining his own exit earlier this week.

“This has been a tough decision for me and my family, but I feel it’s the right one as I look to progress my coaching career,” Duffy said.

“Connacht Rugby has been a major part of my life stretching over 25 years, so it was never going to be easy when the day comes to move on. I feel now is the time for me to stretch myself and further my development as a coach.

“I cannot begin to thank everyone at Connacht Rugby enough for all they have done for me during my association with the club. It’s a great organisation with a bright future, and I leave at the end of the season firmly in the belief that even better days are ahead.

“I’d particularly like to thank Andy Friend and Willie Ruane for their constant understanding and support as I made my decision, as well as all the staff, players and supporters. I look forward to watching the club develop even further in the years ahead.”
 
Head Coach Andy Friend admitted Connacht had been hoping to keep Duffy on board.

“Jimmy is a consummate professional and an excellent forwards coach who I’ve had the pleasure of working with since 2018,” Friend said.

“His dedication, knowledge of the game and constant drive to further develop our players has been first rate.

“Our current crop of forwards are all the better because of him and I know he’ll succeed wherever the future takes him.
 
“While we would have preferred to see Jimmy sign on with us again, we would never stand in the way of any coach when they feel the time is right to move on.”
 
Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said Duffy, who also worked at grassroots level in Connacht, leaves a lasting legacy.
 
“We are naturally disappointed by Jimmy’s decision to move on, but we wish him nothing but the best for everything in the future.

“He leaves behind a really strong legacy at the club, not just as a coach with the professional team but also going back to his days developing coaches within our clubs and schools as well as his work with our underage squads and as a very accomplished former Connacht player.
 
“The part he played in delivering our first ever trophy in 2016 will never be forgotten by the club or by our supporters.

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“On behalf of everyone at Connacht Rugby, I’d like to sincerely thank him for everything he’s done for us and to wish himself, Orla and Joseph all the very best for the future and the next stage of their journey.” 

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