Gearoid Prendergast has been named as Head Coach of the Ireland Club International squad. The Limerick man will take up the role for the 2020 Club International series against Scotland Clubs.
Prendergast is current Head Coach of Young Munsters 1st XV in Division 1A of the Energia All-Ireland League. Energia are also proud sponsors of Ireland Club XV.
“I’m honoured,” he says. “Representing your country is huge for both players and coaches. I’m looking forward to working with some of the top players from around the country. It’s really exciting.”
He is in his ninth season as coach in the AIL having made the switch from UL Bohemian to Young Munster in in 2016. In that time the Cookies have reached the semi-finals in Division 1A and the finals of both the Munster Junior and Senior Cups.
Prendergast had a three-year stint at UL Bohs, initially as Assistant Coach before stepping up to the position of Head Coach in 2015/16.
Before that, he was Assistant Coach at Young Munster for three seasons, having previously been Head Coach with Richmond. Richmond won the Munster Junior Cup and Transfield Cup under Prendergast in 2010.
“Knowing how to manage players and their time is key to this programme,” says Prendergast. “It’s in the middle of the season, so you have to be cognisant of players’ welfare around game time and training camps. It’s about keeping them fresh for both club and country.”
The squad will train at Irish Rugby’s High-Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown. The 2020 programme culminates in a two-game series against Scottish Clubs on a home and away basis in late January and early February. Full fixture details will be announced in due course.
Ireland Club XV are reigning Dalriada Cup holders, having won back the trophy under outgoing Head coach Morgan Lennon in 2019. Assistant Coach Johne Murphy also moves on, as does Team Manager and Maurice Hartery who has taken up the same role with Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership.
“Credit to Morgan Lennon and his team, they did an excellent job in winning last year’s series,” says Prendergast. “It’s something we’ll want to continue. That’s no easy feat either because the Scottish team are very well equipped with some very talented players. It’ll be a big challenge.”
A finalised coaching and management team is expected to be announced next week.