Former UK Athletics performance director Max Jones has been appointed as Ireland’s director of athletics.
Jones, who retired from his UK role two years ago, will take on a part-time position with the Athletics Association of Ireland.
His first major task will be to prepare the Ireland team for next year’s Olympics in Beijing.
“It’s nice to be involved again. Retiring left a big hole in my life,” said Jones.
"After a while I began to miss it - involvement in athletics never really leaves you.
“I spent 24 years as a coach and then as the performance director at UK Athletics, and was involved with preparing the team for six Olympic Games.”
Jones revealed he was approached by the Irish governing body just prior to Christmas and it took only a couple of meetings with them before accepting the appointment.
"It’s going to be a big step for me and it will involve a lot of travelling to and from Ireland, but I’m really enthusiastic about what will be required of me.
“Short term I have to start preparing the Irish squad for Beijing next year but more importantly I have to produce a long term policy which will extend beyond London (2012).”
Jones will have some world-class talent to work with, notably World Indoor 60 metres hurdles champion Derval O’Rourke and David Gillick who last month successfully defended his European 400 metres title.
Sonia O’Sullivan said Jones’ appointment was a very positive move for the country’s future success at major championships.
“It’s a good thing, and let’s remember particularly at Olympic level, he has had a decent amount of success with British teams in the past few years,” said O’Sullivan.
“Now let’s hope he can be just as successful and help us achieve much more than we have done in the past.”