New Director of Rugby Mark Butler empowering and upskilling Cistercian College Rugby players

Cistercian College Roscrea (CCR) has appointed Ireland and Munster rugby underage coach Mark Butler as their Director of Rugby. The well known coach is originally from nearby Thurles and started off his rugby playing career with his local Thurles RFC, then within the Munster and Ireland under age grade squads before graduating onwards up the ranks within the Munster and IRFU coaching systems which includes the Ireland under 18 and most recently this year the national under 19 squad.

Mark has really hit the ground running, having already introduced a pre-summer programme for the Cistercian College players before the summer holidays, who will be playing for the school next season which will empower them and upskill them both on and off the pitch. Mark is keen to stress that they are creating a holistic approach where of course studies come first but that the introduction of early morning training complements the student’s day and invigorates them with more energy which sustains a more productive academic life.

The programme involves twice weekly early morning and one evening supervised gym sessions as well as two pitch sessions focusing on skills and conditioning. Further to these new education workshops are being held on nutrition along with learning how to plan your week effectively. Each player will commit to their own individual plan which they will take and then follow remotely through the summer and this will be augmented by residential camps in August for the junior and senior squads which will flow into the new term and beginning of the season next September.

New Cistercian College Director of Rugby Mark Butler said:

“The opportunity to become Director of Rugby in Roscrea came out of the blue and I saw it as a great challenge where I could work with a school with a rich rugby tradition and considering the numbers in the College have most certainly punched above its weight down through the years. Rugby is rapidly evolving and each season we are seeing a faster game with more ball in play time. Ball skills and movement off the ball with increased hand-eye coordination are now more important than ever and this is actually something that many of the players in Cistercian College have and bring to the game with a background in GAA. Players that move really well, have the ability to change direction, accelerate and jump efficiently will really excel in the current game”.

Brendan McKeogh, Director of Sport at Cistercian College said;

“We are delighted to recruit a coach of Mark’s calibre, talent and experience to guide our rugby programme for the years ahead. It is important to note that we don’t consider the pupils in Cistercian College as rugby players but ‘people’ who play rugby and part of this is developing each player as a person with an attitude, desire and drive to get better at what they are doing every day both on and off the pitch in their studies and personal development. We are so very impressed by Mark’s experience having coached at provincial and national level, to both Munster age grade and National u18, Munster A in the Celtic Cup and then more recently the Ireland u19 team.

New Director of Rugby Mark Butler (centre) pictured with Mr Séamus Hennessey, Director of Admissions (right), Mr Brendan McKeogh, Director of Sport (left) and Cistercian College students

“Allied to this for the last 7 years Mark has been Provincial Talent Coach with Munster Rugby and the IRFU where he was tasked with delivering the National Talent Squad Program (NTS), which is basically managing each NTS player’s individual development plan in their pathway towards the Munster Academy. We look forward to seeing our players in the school blossom under his guidance.”