Paul O'Connell takes on Munster Academy role

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Paul O'Connell takes on Munster Academy role

PAUL O’Connell is to join the join the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy in an advisory role with immediate effect, the province has announced.

Former Munster, Ireland and Lions captain O’Connell joins the province in a part-time capacity for one year.

The role will see the former lock act as a mentor to the next generation of Munster players, providing rugby technical expertise and advice, while guiding them in the areas of rugby development, preparation and best practice. 

Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: "Every club in the world would love to have an iconic figure such as Paul O'Connell involved in their set-up.

“As a Limerick native and proud Munster and Irishman who has played and led teams for Munster, Ireland and the Lions, we were very eager to secure his services in some capacity. 

"We certainly couldn't let this resource and opportunity go and we are hugely thankful to the Commercial Board for their support in making this a reality. 

"An appointment such as this is a further boost to our academy staff and young players, and to the organisation as a whole.

“As always we continue to strive for best in class and this latest appointment further highlights our ambitions as we embark on a new chapter for the province, operating from our new high performance centre in UL."

O'Connell enjoyed a distinguished 14-year career with Munster, represented the province on 178 occasions and won two European Cups, three League titles and a Celtic Cup. 

O’Connell won a Grand Slam in 2009, led his country to two RBS 6 Nations championship titles and claimed four Triple Crowns.

A three time Lions tourist, O’Connell skippered the side on their 2009 tour of South Africa and was a member of the series winning side in Australia in 2013.

Meanwhile, seven new recruits have been added to the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy for the 2016/17 season with Ireland U20 stars Vincent O'Brien, Sean O'Connor and Shane Daly included in the new intake.

The academy newcomers also include Gavin Coombes, John Foley, Calvin Nash and Fineen Wycherley.

However, Ireland Junior World Championship U-20 prop Ben Betts has not been included in the academy list and there is speculation that the Young Munster front row may move to Leicester Tigers. 

Fve of the current Academy group are advancing to senior Munster development contracts for 2016/17 - David Johnston, John Madigan, Sean McCarthy, Rory Scannell and Alex Wootton - while Gearoid Lyons and Jack Cullen have secured professional contracts with Nottingham Rugby and London Scottish respectively.

Fellow third year players Rory Burke and Greg O'Shea have had their time in the Academy extended by one year after a series of injuries hampered their development.

Shannon's Niall Horan and Cork Con's Ryan Foley, Darragh Moloney and Tomás Quinlan have completed their time with the programme.