Zebre head coach Michael Bradley before the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Zebre at RDS Arena in Dublin last year. Michael Bradley has been announced as UCC RFC’s new Head Coach. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Brand new trio for UCC

Ahead of the club rugby season, UCC RFC have pulled off something of a coup, signing up an award-winning Cork coach.

The All Ireland League (AIL) will kick off for UCC on 1 October when they face Malone in Belfast and they will be lead by ex-international Michael Bradley who is the team’s new Head Coach. He will head up an all-star coaching team that includes former Irish internationals Ken O’Connell and Paul McCarty, and ex-Munster fly-half Scott Deasy.

Bradley comes to the Mardyke with a host of international experience having previously led Connacht, Edinburgh and Zebre in the Pro14, where he received the Pro14 Coaches Coach of the Year Award at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Bradley, speaking about his appointment said: "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with UCC Rugby. It is exciting and challenging to work with some of the most talented young rugby players at this critical juncture in their career. Our vision is to play exciting, winning rugby and to make the Mardyke venue an excellent match-day experience for all who come to support our teams."

Ken O’Connell joins Bradley at UCC having previously acted as Munster Rugby’s elite development officer before becoming the province’s coach development officer. O’Connell was also a member of the coaching group that led Munster to a British & Irish Cup triumph in 2012.

Paul McCarty, who was Munster’s scrum coach between 2002 and 2013, also brings an international pedigree to the Mardyke having represented both Ireland and the Barbarians.

Scott Deasy joins UCC RFC’s stellar coaching group. Having also represented Munster between 2009-13, winning the British & Irish Cup with the province in 2012, Deasy will be able to draw on a wealth of experience and knowledge in his role.

Morgan Buckley, Head of UCC Sport, welcomed Bradley and the coaching team to UCC.

He said: "In this, the 150th anniversary of the founding of UCC RFC, I’m thrilled to welcome Michael to campus. Michael is a world class coach who will add to the storied history of UCC RFC. I wish Michael, Scott, Ken, and Paul every success this season."

Vivian Nathan, Chairperson of UCC RFC, said: "Michael will bring an extra dimension and positivity to the club as we embark on the next chapter of our journey. I would like to warmly welcome Michael to UCC Rugby and wish him the very best in the coming season."