May is rivalling December as the key time for sporting awards. Already this week we saw the Bus Eireann Women’s National Soccer league stars honoured and last night Ulster Bank shone the spotlight on club rugby with the ‘Ulster Bank League Awards’ on George’s Quay in Dublin.
Craig Ronaldson of Lansdowne RFC capped a fine personal year by taking the award for Division 1A Player of the Year and Top points scorer, and was presented with his award last night by Reggie Corrigan who completed a long day having starred at our Business Breakfast meeting first thing in the morning.
Players from Ballynahinch, Naas, Clontarf, Terenure and Cork Constitution were also recognised at the first year of the awards.
“Having seen the outstanding commitment and dedication that players and club members make, week-in week-out, introducing the Ulster Bank League Awards was a natural fit for us,” said Carol McMahon, Head of Sponsorship at Ulster Bank.
“The awards are about recognising the outstanding talent that lines out on rugby pitches, across the country, every weekend.”
“The Ulster Bank League produces some of the most exciting rugby in Ireland,” added Scott Walker, IRFU Director of Development and Club Rugby. “Clubs all over the country are filled with talented young stars who dedicate their evenings and weekends to the great game. With the development of our provincial sides, club rugby doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. I would like to congratulate Ulster Bank on this excellent initiative.”
Now in their third year as Official Community Rugby Partner to the IRFU, Ulster Bank also runs the annual Ulster Bank RugbyForce initiative – an initiative which provides rugby clubs with support to renovate their club and upgrade their facilities.
Four clubs have already been announced as winners and a fifth will be chosen by public vote over this week and next. The club, from a shortlist of 16, which attracts the highest number of votes will win a support package worth €5,000.
Voting opened on Monday 13th May and will remain open until Friday 24th May. Votes can be cast online at www.ulsterbank.com/rugby. All winning clubs will also receive a special training session from an IRFU coach and two Irish rugby stars.
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