MALAHIDE Rugby Club’s rise from the Leinster League Division 3 in 2010/11 to the All-Ireland League in 2017/18 has been one of the more remarkable success stories in Irish rugby over the last decade.
aving since established themselves in Division 2B of the AIL, following yet another promotion in 2019, the club have recently outlined ambitious plans to take them to the next level.
Part of that plan included appointing former Malahide player Ray Monaghan as Director of Rugby for the club. Monaghan is a vastly experienced player who has played more than 200 AIL games and 16 seasons at centre or out half with Old Belvedere, winning Division 1B of the AIL with them in 2010.
Monaghan originally joined Malahide in 2015 when they were in Leinster 1B and was part of their coaching staff that helped the Estuary Road side gain promotion to the AIL in 2017.
A statement from the club announced Monaghan’s appointment, stating that he is seen as the ideal man to take the club to the next level.
“The Executive of Malahide Rugby Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Ray Monaghan as Director of Rugby for the club,” the statement said.
“Ray is a former coach and player with Malahide and joins us after a successful term coaching with Old Belvedere.
Malahide RFC chairman Nigel Drummond is delighted to have secured Monaghan for the position.
“We are confident with his experience this will allow us to grow our youth and underage teams and will assist in our ambitions to get promoted from AIL 2B.
“Ray is no stranger to us here in Malahide. He played with us in the past and was part of the coaching team that helped us gain promotion to the AIL back in 2017.
“We have big plans for the future on and off the pitch in Malahide and we see Ray as the ideal man to take us to the next level. The future is very bright here in Estuary Road and Ray Monaghan will be a very welcome addition to the rugby family.”
Monaghan has wasted little time in getting to work and speaking to the Fingal Independent this week he outlined some of the work that has already been done.
“I’m hugely excited to be back here in Malahide and I’m looking forward to try and help the club improve and move forward to that next level.
“We probably got up to the AIL a bit too quickly after those successive promotions and the structures in the club were probably not ideal for a side who have ambitions of climbing up the leagues in the AIL.
“The big thing for me when I came in was to quickly get working on establishing an U20s side in Malahide. That was a key area which I felt was vital to help improve our first-team squad and have a steady stream of players coming through. We had to bridge the gap between the youth set-up and the seniors and the first thing I did was to begin a recruitment phase for a new U20 team.
“Last year’s U18s will form a large part of the new squad. We’ve looked to get lads in from C.U.S, St Michael’s and some of the schools close to Malahide and I feel it’s imperative that we get those U20s up and running as quickly as possible to help our first-team squad.
“Junior players want to play at a high level, so to attract those really good young players we also know that the first team need to be in a higher division and we would be looking to climb at least one division over the next three years.”
With that in mind Monaghan has brought a wealth of coaching experience into Malahide, with former Clontarf coach Ben Woods, Belvedere man Tim Healy and forwards coach Dean Moore all arriving at Estuary Road this summer.
Last season’s coach Brendan Guilfoyle has said his goodbyes to the club and will start a new challenge as head coach of Galwegians next season.
“Top four is huge for next season,” stated Monaghan.
“We already have a couple of exciting new signings in the door and everybody is chomping at the bit to get started. I’m getting asked already when pre-season is starting and there is a great buzz around the place.
“There is so much good stuff going on at the club, with the minis and youth teams thriving thanks to the dedication of 120 or so coaches as well as the parents who bring their kids here each week.
“But there are also a lot of things we feel can improve and that’s up to me to try and do that and help this ambitious club get stronger.
“We’ve seen the likes of Tom Hogan come through from the youth set-up to the senior team last season and he’s a very exciting player. That’s what we need to see happen more and more, and by bringing in this new U20s team we should see more exciting young local talent coming through.
“I’m hugely honoured and hugely excited to be part of this new chapter in Malahide’s history and we look forward to a lot of hard work to try and get Malahide moving in the right direction.”