Declan Kidney

Declan Kidney

Declan Kidney (born 20 October 1959 in Ballincollig, County Cork) is the former head coach of the Ireland national rugby union team.[1][2]

Early life

Kidney played rugby for UCC and later for Dolphin RFC. He studied to become a mathematics teacher,[3] in which position he was appointed at Presentation Brothers College, Cork, and later became the career guidance officer.

He took on the role of rugby coach at the school, where he had initial success as coach of the junior and later senior side.[4]

Coaching career

Early career

Following his coaching of the Irish Schools team, Kidney coached the Ireland under 19s team which won the FIRA World Cup in 1998.[5] After this Tournament he joined Munster.[6]

His initial stint at Munster ended in 2002, when he left to become Ireland's assistant coach. He was replaced at Munster by Alan Gaffney.

In the summer of 2004, he became coach at Newport Gwent Dragons. However in August 2004, after only 3 months in the job, he left to join Leinster.[7]

Success with Munster

He rejoined Munster in 2005, winning the Heineken Cup in his first season back, after losing in both 2000 and 2002 in the final.[8][9] After this win, Kidney was awarded the 2006 Philips Sports Manager of the Year award,[10] and on 24 May 2008, his Munster squad won the Heineken Cup once again.[11]


Kidney was succeeded as Munster coach in July 2008 by Tony McGahan,[12] when Kidney became the Irish national coach. He coached the Irish team to the Grand Slam and Triple Crown in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 21 March 2009, in his first year as head coach.[13] In June 2009, coached Ireland Wolfhounds, then known as Ireland A, to their first Churchill Cup.

On 28 November 2009, he was awarded IRB Coach of the Year.[14] On 9 December 2009, he was awarded Phillips Manager of the Year for the third time in four years, beating Brian Cody, John Oxx and Giovanni Trapattoni to the title.[15] He led Ireland to the quarter finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where they were defeated 22–10 by Wales.[16]

Ireland's international fortunes declined after 2009 with a poor string of results, which was the antithesis to the success of its provinces Leinster, Ulster, Connacht and Munster. They suffered their heaviest defeat in history and slipped to their worst IRB World Ranking of 9th. After finishing a very poor 5th in the 2013 Six Nations Championship, the IRFU, on 2 April 2013, took the decision to terminate Kidney's contract.[17][18][19][20]


In August 2013, Kidney was appointed as the Director of Sport and Physical Activity at UCC.[21]



Celtic League (1): 2002/03

Heineken Cup (2): 2005/06, 2007/08


IRB Under 19 Rugby World Championship (1) 1998

Churchill Cup (1): 2009

Triple Crown (1): 2009

Six Nations Championship (1): 2009 (Grand Slam)


IRB International Coach of the Year 2009


External links

  • BBC – Kidney in new IRFU Role
  • Declan Kidney Factfile Sporting Life
  • ESPN Profile
Preceded by
Graham Henry
IRB International Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Graham Henry
Preceded by
Eddie O'Sullivan
Irish national rugby coach
Succeeded by
Les Kiss
Preceded by
Alan Gaffney
Munster Rugby coach
Succeeded by
Tony McGahan