The IRFU have announced that Michael Kearney will step down as Ireland team manager following the Guinness Series in November.
Kearney said in a statement: "It has been a great privilege to work with the national team for the past 5 years. During that time I have made many friendships and enjoyed a lot of special moments.”
Kearney said he wanted to allow his successor plenty of time to bed in before the next Rugby World Cup, in Japan in 2019.
“I've witnessed at first hand the incredible work ethic of players and management and the desire to reach world class standards in everything they do. The time was right for me to step down and allow the next team manager time to integrate into the group ahead of the next World Cup.”
Kearney took over from Paul McNaughton in 2012 and worked alongside Declan Kidney through the 2012 and 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championships, the three test summer tour of New Zealand and the Guinness Series fixtures against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.
Kearney managed the Ireland team on the 2013 North America tour alongside interim coach Les Kiss before continuing in the role following the appointment of Joe Schmidt as Ireland Head Coach.
Schmidt thanked Kearney for his work with Ireland and said he would be missed.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 2, 2016
"Mick's experience, reasoning and people skills have added tremendous value to the National players and management over the past five years,” he said.
“While we're disappointed that he will be finishing post the Guinness Series this November we have certainly profited from his friendship and the many hours he has committed to fulfilling his role so effectively.”
As a player Kearney was a long term member of Lansdowne FC and enjoyed involvement in Leinster final trials and the Ireland Under-23 sides before a knee injury forced him to retire at the age of 24.
"The IRFU would like to thank Mick for his contribution to Irish Rugby,” IRF Chief Executive Philip Browne said.
“He has provided strong leadership and direction for the national team and played a significant role in creating an environment that has driven on field success for Ireland."