John Muldoon ‘very excited’ to join Connacht coaching staff next season

John Muldoon during his playing days at Connacht. Photo: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

John Muldoon says he is relishing the chance to return to Connacht and join the coaching staff next season.

The legendary former Connacht skipper will leave Bristol to take up a role with his home province that will see him have responsibility for the lineout and maul, working in conjunction with Colm Tucker who will remain in charge of the scrum and breakdown.

Muldoon, who has signed a two-year contract, has spent the last five years at Bristol, working under ex-Connacht boss Pat Lam.

The Galway native was first appointed as defence coach before taking on responsibility for the forwards, helping Bristol win a Challenge Cup in 2020 and then a first place finish in the 2020/’21 Premiership league table.

Muldoon played a record 327 times for Connacht across a storied 15-year career, which culminated in leading the Westerners to a first PRO12 title in 2016.

"I’m very excited to be coming back to Connacht Rugby,” Muldoon said.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years and I’m really looking forward to moving back to Galway and getting to work with the boys.

“There’s some familiar faces but a lot of new ones too, since my time there. In that regard I am excited by the blend of young talent coming through within the squad, coupled with the quality and experience of some of the more experienced guys. Dewald’s (Senekal) done an exceptional job the last two years and I want to build on that over the coming seasons.

“I’ve obviously been watching Connacht from afar and it's clear the team have been building momentum throughout the season.

“From speaking to Pete (Wilkins) these last couple of weeks I’m excited about his vision for where he hopes to take the team and I am delighted to be able to play my part on that journey and deliver on the level of ambition that everyone with an interest or involvement in Connacht Rugby is striving to achieve."

Head coach, Pete Wilkins, who will replace the outgoing Andy Friend as Connacht boss, added:

"John Muldoon needs no introduction, but it’s worth stressing that first and foremost he’s an excellent coach, who has clearly made a huge contribution in his 5 years at Bristol.

“I worked with John during his last season at Connacht, and my first, and it was clear at that stage he had all the attributes to become a top-class coach. It’s been great to see that early potential realised over the last few seasons and I look forward to him bringing that experience back to Connacht Rugby

“Secondly, very few people understand the culture and values of Connacht Rugby like John

does. He’s experienced first-hand all the highs and lows, and has a connection with this place that cannot be overstated.

“That passion and knowledge will be a benefit to all of us, and I know everyone who has an interest in Connacht Rugby will be delighted to see him back in the West."