Neil Kelly departs as Cornwall head coach

James Gordon
Neil Kelly

Picture by Patrick Tod/

Former Super League coach of the year Neil Kelly has left his role as head coach of Cornwall RLFC.

Neil Kelly, 60, was appointed for the Choughs’ maiden season in League 1, building a squad from scratch that recorded its first ever win against West Wales back in June.

A club statement said: “This decision was 100 per cent amicable between both parties and Neil leaves with our very best wishes going forward. 

“The club would like to place on record our sincere thanks for the job Neil has done over the past 11 months.

“He was handed the task of leading Cornwall into our first ever professional season and built a side and a squad from scratch in a very short period of time that evolved as 2022 progressed. 

“Neil provided the club with stability during its infancy and laid firm foundations which we know will be built upon in years to come.

“His name is forever etched in Cornwall RLFC history as the coach that led the club to its maiden triumph in June and will always be welcome back at the Memorial Ground in the future. 

“The club will make an announcement on its new head coach for next season in due course.”

Cornwall entered the RFL system using what was previously Hemel Stags’ license to participate.

They were formed after the Ottawa Aces project collapsed following Toronto Wolfpack’s withdrawal from Super League in 2020.

The Aces had previously recruited heavily for planned entry in to League 1 in 2021, but the pandemic put paid to their bid to follow in the Wolfpack’s footsteps.

Cornwall’s highest profile player, and first ever signing, was former Super League winner Anthony Mullally, though he announced his retirement in July.

Although they lost all 10 of their home games in 2022, Cornwall still recorded an impressive average attendance of 1,045 in their maiden year.

In pictures: Cornwall RLFC make their rugby league debut