Nigel Carolan departing Connacht Rugby after 25 years

Galway Daily rugby Nigel Carolan departing Connacht Rugby after 25 years
photo: INPHO/Connacht Rugby

Connacht Rugby has confirmed that Nigel Carolan will be departing at the end of this season after almost 26 years with the province.

Nigel Carolan has contributed a huge amount to Connacht in recent decades, in various roles both on and off the pitch.

Since 2017 the Galway native has held the role of Attack Coach for the club, having previously spent 14 years nurturing the province’s future talent as the Manager of the Connacht Academy, and before that as a player in the late 1990’s.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Carolan said “When I signed my most recent contract over two years ago, I made it clear to Connacht that it would be my last before embarking on a new challenge.

“I have been involved with Connacht Rugby for most of the last 26 years of my life. While I have loved every day of it and I cannot speak highly enough of the people I’ve worked with, the time has come for a new experience in rugby.”

“I’m at the stage of my coaching career where I need to challenge myself in a new environment and gain new perspectives, so I’m excited by what the future holds for Siobhan, Milly, Ben and myself.”

“Andy Friend and Willie Ruane have known of my plans for a long time and have been 100% supportive of me every step of the way,” Carolan said.

“I’d like to sincerely thank them for their support these past few years while I came to this decision, and I’d like to wish them and all the players and coaches every success in the years ahead.”

Andy Friend says Carolan made a big impression in the three years they’ve worked together since he came to Connacht.

As Attack Coach, Carolan kept up the “attractive, exciting brand of attacking” playstyle which is part of the tradition of Connacht Rugby, Friend said, adding that it will continue to be implemented in the years ahead.

“He is an excellent coach who has all the credentials to succeed elsewhere, and I wish him every success wherever he goes.”

In recent years Carolan has served more than just his province, acting as Head Coach for the Irish U20 side from 2014-2017, leading them to the final of the 2016 U20 World Championship.

CEO of Connacht Rugby Willie Ruane paid tribute to Carolan for his many years of dedication to his home province.

“While we are obviously disappointed to see Nigel go, we fully understand and appreciate why he felt the time was right to move on.”

“We’ve been aware of his wish to try something new for some time, and the way he has conducted himself every day since then has been as professional and dedicated as ever.”

“It’s important to also acknowledge Nigel as one of our own, having come through the Connacht pathway both in his playing and coaching careers.”

“He has given his home province a huge amount and on behalf of everyone at Connacht Rugby I’d like to sincerely thank him for the commitment he has shown and for everything he has accomplished during his time here.”