After the stars of the elite game were honoured on Thursday it was the turn of the Club Players in Rugby last night to take their turn in the spotlight at the sixth annual Ulster Bank League Awards.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was in attendance to present the winners with their awards with all four provinces represented in 16 categories including the new addition of the #UBLTry of the Year Award.
Lansdowne FC topped off an amazing season following their recent Division 1A and Bateman Cup final victories by taking home four awards with influential coach Mike Ruddock being awarded the coveted Division 1A Coach of the Year having led his team to the title winning 18 of 20 games.
Talismanic fly-half Scott Deasy claimed the Top Points Scorer for his outstanding 219 points tally this season while Harry Brennan claimed the Leinster Player of the Year Award. This year also saw the introduction of a new category, the #UBLTry of the Year, recognising the winners of the #UBLTry of the Month throughout this season’s Ulster Bank League which was claimed by Daniel McEvoy.
Neil Cronin who earned himself a Munster contract ahead of next season on the back of his performances with Garryowen FC this season capped off an incredible year being named the Division 1A Player of the Year. Cronin who also captained the Ulster Bank Club international team this year was also awarded the Munster Player of the Year. Liam Coombes ensured a very successful evening for Garryowen FC claiming the Top Try Scorer in Division 1A with 11 tries.
Remaining in Munster Alex McHenry who excelled in Cork Constitution FC’s run to the Division 1A final claimed the Division 1A Rising Star of the Year. In a historic year for UCC RFC, Paul Kiernan claimed the Division 1B Player of the Year for his role in leading the Cork University to Division 1A for the first time.
In Ulster, Rory Campbell who was instrumental for Malone RFC in their Division 2A campaign won the Division 2A Player of the Year while Andrew Morrison, Banbridge RFC was awarded the Ulster Player of the Year.
Sligo’s Shane Boyle was named the Division 2C Player of the Year while Galwegians Brian Murphy took top prize as Connacht Player of the Year.
Old Crescent RFC who claimed the Division 2B title unbeaten were awarded for their work both on and off the field with Val McDermott claiming the Division 2B player of the year and Frank Larkin being named the Ulster Bank P.R.O. of the Year.
The Club Volunteer of the Year was awarded to an incredibly worthy recipient; Michael Silke of Buccaneers RFC for his tireless work, dedication and commitment off the field and his willingness to help with any task for the club on training nights and his social committee work.
This year also saw the introduction of a new category, the #UBLTry of the Year, recognising the winners of the #UBLTry of the Month throughout this season’s Ulster Bank League. Decided by an online voting mechanism, Daniel McEvoy (Lansdowne – Division 1A) claimed the award amidst tough competition from; Ben Kilkenny (Young Munster – Division 1A), Jack Maybury (Old Wesley – Division 1B), Bain Champion (Seapoint – Division 2C), Dan Kerr (Malone – Division 2A), Paul Devitt (Skerries – Division 2B), Marcus McAllister (Malahide – Division 2C) & Falemaka El Vave (Queen’s University – Division 2A).
“Ulster Bank is extremely proud to support grassroots rugby in Ireland,” said Carol McMahon, Head of Business Marketing & Sponsorship at Ulster Bank.
“We understand the commitment and dedication that players, coaches and volunteers give to make their club the best it can be.”
“All the nominees tonight are testament to the outstanding talent which has been displayed on countless occasions in clubs across the country throughout the season. On behalf of Ulster Bank, I would like to congratulate all the nominees, all the winners and the club members for a very successful season.”
“The Ulster Bank League allows clubs to showcase their talent, their communities and the values rugby represents,” added IRFU President Philip Orr.
“These awards are a welcome recognition of the dedication and commitment of not just the players but the volunteers in our clubs that represent the bedrock of our game. On behalf of the IRFU I would like to congratulate the individual winners and their clubs and express our gratitude to Ulster Bank for their continuing support of our national Club competition.”