Robbie Henshaw and Béibhinn Parsons have been named Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s and Women’s Players of The Year, while Railway Union has been recognised as Club of the Year and Leinster as Team of the Year.

Henshaw was credited with “countless stand-out performances for the British and Irish Lions, Ireland and Leinster.

Parsons was awarded the Women’s recognition for the second year running.

Terry Kennedy was named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland 7’s Player of the Year.

The Leinster Rugby team was named the Dave Guiney Team of the Year for the second year in a row, in recognition of their impressive season which culminated in them being crowned the Guinness Pro14 champions for the fourth consecutive season.

Railway Union Rugby Football Club was named the Club of the Year for 2021 in recognition of its development and promotion of women’s rugby.

Based in Sandymount, Dublin, Railway Union was a driving force behind Leinster Rugby’s historic vote in favour of amending their bylaws to confer the same status on women’s All Ireland League sides as that conferred to men’s teams in the AIL.

In December 2021, Former Ireland and current Wasps rugby player, Claire Molloy and former Ireland, Bath, London Irish and Connacht player, Simon Geoghegan were inducted into the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame while former Ireland & Munster rugby player, Billy Holland was named as the recipient of the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Tom Rooney Award for the 2020/2021 season.

“Guinness is thrilled to once again recognise the incredible achievements and contributions to Irish Rugby during the 2020/2021 season,” said Head of Partnerships for Diageo Ireland, Rory Sheridan.

“I speak for all at Guinness when I say that these players made some very challenging months much easier with their performances each and every week.”

“While we cannot celebrate in person as we would like, we offer our warmest congratulations to all our award recipients today, in particular, I would like to congratulate Robbie Henshaw and Beibhinn Parsons, on their incredible personal achievements during the season, both of these players were incredible to watch and we cannot wait to see what 2022 has in store for both of them.”

“Thank you to the Rugby Writers of Ireland and to Guinness for this award,” said Leo Cullen on behalf of Leinster. “I’m honoured to be accepting it for the second year running on behalf of the wider Leinster Rugby organisation, the staff and coaches and the players who have represented the team throughout the Guinness PRO14 and Champions Cup during the 2020/2021 season.”

“As a group, we understand the privilege we are afforded to be able to represent our province and continue to work and represent the 12 counties as best we can. We are working harder than ever to make sure the fans are excited and proud to support Leinster and look forward to welcoming 5,000 of them to the RDS Arena on Sunday. We’re very grateful for their continued support as well as the support of Guinness and the Rugby Writers of Ireland.”

Sport for Business Perspective

The process of recognising those that have made a difference is important, even when it cannot go ahead in person. The award to Railway Union is particularly noteworthy given that there have been a few occasions in recent years when they have, as they say, bashed heads with the rugby establishment. Well done to all and please God the celebration will be in person once more in 2023.


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