O'Brien joins national ladies' backroom team
Declan O'Brien has taken on a new role within the I.R.F.U. set-up and has joined the backroom team of new Irish ladies' coach Tom Tierney.
Tierney, the former Irish international scrum-half, was appointed as replacement to Philip Doyle in November. Doyle is back with his club, Gorey, coaching at under-age level.
Declan has been Leinster's South East Area Rugby Development Officer for the past eight years and has done a brilliant job in enhancing the profile and development of the game in the region.
He also has continued to play with his club, Enniscorthy, and helped them to win the Irish Junior Cup final last year.
He is still playing this season as the team lie second in Division 1 behind Dundalk. In fact, he lined out recently against Monkstown.
Declan started his career playing hurling and football with the Shamrocks and won a county Intermediate hurling medal with them in 1996.
He is officially assistant coach to the Irish ladies' team and will concentrate on the line-out and defence for the forwards initially. He will still keep his current position.
'Yes, it is a nice challenge and it will time-wise be made up of weekend training camps as there are seven of the team currently working in England so Sunday sessions have been the norm since we came in to take charge of the team in November,' he said.
'I am really looking forward to the challenge but I want to assure the clubs in the south-east region that I will still be giving the development of rugby my number one priority in the area.
'We have made a lot of progress over the years and I intend to build on the success we have already achieved.
'I will also hopefully continue to play for the lads (Enniscorthy) although when the 6 Nations start it may be a problem.
'I see this opportunity however as too big a chance not to accept, especially now that ladies' rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.'
It is a massive boost for the Enniscorthy man to get involved at international level with the team that beat the All Blacks at the recent World Cup finals, although since then they have lost a few high-profile players through retirements.
Their first match will be a friendly against Wales on January 25.
They are the current champions and their campaign starts away to Italy on February 6.