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James Crombie/INPHO New chapter: Nigel Carolan.
# Loss
After the best part of 26 years at Connacht, attack coach Carolan to leave at end of season
Nigel Carolan: ‘I’m at the stage of my coaching career where I need to challenge myself in a new environment and gain new perspectives.’

CONNACHT ATTACK COACH Nigel Carolan will leave the province when his contract expires at the end of the season. 

Carolan departs the role he’s held since 2017, having enjoyed a colourful — and lengthy — career as a player and coach at the Westerners.

The Galway native played for Connacht in the late 1990s, and then spent 14 years as Academy manager. Carolan was also head coach of the Ireland U20s from 2014 to 2016, steering them to the final of the World Championship in 2016, before joining Kieran Keane’s coaching ticket at the Sportsground the following year.

He continued his duties under the watchful eye of Andy Friend, and has been a popular figure at the province throughout his time there, so now proves a big loss.

“When I signed my most recent contract over two years ago, I made it clear to Connacht that it would be my last before embarking on a new challenge,” Carolan said in a parting statement. 

I have been involved with Connacht Rugby for most of the last 26 years of my life. While I have loved every day of it and I cannot speak highly enough of the people I’ve worked with, the time has come for a new experience in rugby.

“I’m at the stage of my coaching career where I need to challenge myself in a new environment and gain new perspectives, so I’m excited by what the future holds for Siobhan, Milly, Ben and myself.

“Andy Friend and Willie Ruane have known of my plans for a long time and have been 100% supportive of me every step of the way. I’d like to sincerely thank them for their support these past few years while I came to this decision, and I’d like to wish them and all the players and coaches every success in the years ahead.”

Friend said Carolan made a big impression in the three years they’ve worked together, and hailed a huge servant to Connacht Rugby.

I first met Nigel shortly after moving to Connacht and I cannot speak highly enough of the three years since then. He is an excellent coach who has all the credentials to succeed elsewhere, and I wish him every success wherever he goes.

“The Connacht traditions of playing an attractive, exciting brand of attacking rugby continued under Nigel, and that style will continue to be implemented in the years ahead.”

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“While we are obviously disappointed to see Nigel go, we fully understand and appreciate why he felt the time was right to move on,” Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane added.

We’ve been aware of his wish to try something new for some time, and the way he has conducted himself every day since then has been as professional and dedicated as ever.

“It’s important to also acknowledge Nigel as one of our own, having come through the Connacht pathway both in his playing and coaching careers. He has given his home province a huge amount and on behalf of everyone at Connacht Rugby I’d like to sincerely thank him for the commitment he has shown and for everything he has accomplished during his time here.”

Connacht Rugby say that a further announcement confirming next season’s coaching ticket will be made in due course.

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Murray Kinsella, Bernard Jackman and Gavan Casey field listeners’ questions about Ireland’s victory over England before turning their attention to the club game, and Super Rugby in the Pacific Islands, prospective law trials up north and, of course, this weekend’s Pro14 final between old rivals.

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