Declan Kidney pictured with his wife Anne and son Cian on receipt of his honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick
The University of Limerick honoured Declan Kidney with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his huge contribution to sport in Ireland over many years.
President of the University of Limerick, Prof Don Barry spoke of Kidney's achievements in saying "Declan Kidney is an individual who has reached the highest level of achievement in his chosen field of endeavour, and as a result of his successes, has brought much distinction to this region and to our nation. The University of Limerick, with its fine sporting tradition, is proud to recognise and honour the contributions of Declan Kidney to Irish rugby and to the enhancement of Ireland's international prestige."
Declan Kidney is one of the most respected and decorated coaches in Ireland with a career full of success. As a mathematics and career guidance teacher at Presentation Brothers College, Cork, he coached school teams to four Munster Junior Cups and four Munster Senior Cups. He coached the Irish Schools to a Triple Crown victory in 1993 and the Ireland Under 19 side to a World Cup victory in 1998, with a side that included current senior internationals Brian O'Driscoll, Donnacha O'Callaghan and Paddy Wallace.
He became coach of Munster in 1998 at a time when a number of distinguished foreign coaches were daunted by the task and, as players and coaches underwent the transition from amateur to professional status, he laid the foundation for the most successful period in the long and distinguished history of Munster rugby. After a brief period as assistant coach to the Irish Rugby team, Kidney rejoined Munster as Coach in 2005, leading the team to a Heineken Cup win that year. In 2006, he was awarded Philips Sports Manager of the Year and on the 24 May 2008 he coached the Munster squad to victory in the Heineken Cup once again.
In July 2008, Kidney was appointed as Ireland Coach. By March 2009, he had brought the team to Ireland's first Grand Slam in 61 years, in a sensational climax at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. In the conferring citation read by Professor Stephen O'Brien, Professor of Applied Mathematics at UL, the attributes of a successful coach are described; "It takes a special kind of person to withstand the frustrations and pressures of constant review, and it takes a truly remarkable individual to emerge from many years of intense public scrutiny as a widely acknowledged, highly successful coach who enjoys the respect of players, officials, fans and the media. Our honouree, Declan Kidney, is such a man."
The conferring ceremony was attended by representatives and legends of Irish rugby; Irish and Munster Squads, IRFU officials and rugby clubs from across the country were present to congratulate one of the most successful and modest mentors in Irish Rugby History.