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Munster recruit Cronin crowned Division 1A best player as Lansdowne scoop three awards

Paul Kiernan’s outstanding campaign with UCC saw him crowned top dog in Division 1B.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE AVIVA STADIUM played host to the sixth annual Ulster Bank League Awards tonight celebrating the best in Irish club rugby.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was in attendance to present the winners with their awards. All four provinces were represented in 16 categories – including the new addition of the #UBLTry of the Year Award.

The inconquerable Lansdowne FC topped off an amazing season following their recent Division 1A and Bateman Cup final victories by taking home no fewer than three awards.

Mike Ruddock Lansdowne head coach Mike Ruddock Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Influential coach Mike Ruddock was awarded the coveted Division 1A Coach of the Year having led his team to the title, winning 18 of 20 games, while talismanic fly-half Scott Deasy claimed the Top Points Scorer for his mammoth tally of 219 this season. Harry Brennan claimed the Leinster Player of the Year Award.

Neil Cronin, who earned himself a Munster contract ahead of next season on the back of his consistent brilliance for Garryowen, capped off an incredible year by being named the Division 1A Player of the Year. Cronin, who captained the Ulster Bank Club international team this year, was also crowned the Munster Player of the Year.

Liam Coombes ensured a very successful evening for Garryowen, claiming the Top Try Scorer in Division 1A with 11 tries.

Willie Earle with Neil Cronin Neil Cronin Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Remaining in Munster, Alex McHenry, who excelled in Cork Constitution’s run to the Division 1A final, was named the Division 1A Rising Star of the Year.

In a historic year for UCC RFC, captain 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.

Known colloquially as ‘Chip The Loaded Gun’, Kiernan – son of former Ireland international Michael Kiernan – dotted down nine times during a campaign memorable not only for UCC’s promotion, but their brand of rugby union which often bordered on the outrageous.

Paul Kiernan Paul Kiernan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

In Ulster, Rory Campbell – instrumental for Malone RFC in their Division 2A campaign – won the Division 2A Player of the Year, while Andrew Morrison of 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 star Brian Murphy took top prize as Connacht Player of the Year.

Old Crescent RFC, who claimed the Division 2B title unbeaten, were rewarded 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 was selected for his tireless work, dedication and commitment off the field, 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) and Falemaka El Vave (Queen’s University – Division 2A).

Full list of winners from the Ulster Bank League Awards

1. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1A: Neil Cronin, Garryowen FC
2. Ulster Bank Top Try Scorer – Division 1A: Liam Coombes, Garryowen FC
3. Ulster Bank Top Points Scorer – Division 1A: Scott Deasy, Lansdowne FC
4. Ulster Bank Rising Star of the Year – Division 1A: Alex McHenry, Cork Constitution FC
5. Ulster Bank Coach of the Year – Division 1A: Mike Ruddock, Lansdowne FC
6. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1B: Paul Kiernan, UCC RFC
7. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2A: Rory Campbell, Malone RFC
8. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2B: Val McDermott, Old Crescent RFC
9. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2C: Shane Boyle, Sligo RFC
10. Ulster Bank Club PRO (Public Relations Officer) of the Year: Frank Larkin, Old Crescent RFC
11. Ulster Bank Club Volunteer of the Year: Michael Silke, Buccaneers RFC
12. #UBLTry of the Year: Daniel McEvoy, Lansdowne

12. Ulster Bank Provincial Players of the Year

  • Connacht Player of the Year: Brian Murphy, Galwegians RFC
  • Leinster Player of the Year: Harry Brennan, Lansdowne FC
  • Munster Player of the Year: Neil Cronin, Garryowen FC
  • Ulster Player of the Year: Andrew Morrison, Banbridge RFC

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