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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Top dog: Kearney named Players' Player of the Year

Rob Kearney took home two of the big prizes from last night’s IRUPA Rugby Players’ Awards in Dublin.

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

LEINSTER AND IRELAND full-back Rob Kearney was the big winner at the 10th IRUPA Rugby Players’ Awards, held in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel last night.

Kearney was voted Players’ Player of the Year and also took home the Newstalk Supporters’ Player of the Year prize after he bounced back from a long injury lay-off to star for both province and country this season.

“This is the first time I’ve received this award which has been voted for by my peers and I am overwhelmed to be honest that the other players in Ireland have chosen me,” said the 26-year-old, who missed most of 2011 with a knee injury.

Munster back-row Peter O’Mahony won the 2012 Nature Valley Young Player of the Year award after a breakthrough season in which he won his first senior caps for Ireland.

The evening’s other winners included Leinster’s Kevin McLoughlin who picked up the O2 Unsung Hero Award, voted for by the public, while Ulster’s Craig Gilroy won Volkswagen Try of the Year for his superb solo effort in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals against Munster.

Two of Munster’s recently retired greats were also recognised as John Hayes was inducted into the IRUPA Hall of Fame while his long-time pack counterpart Mick O’Driscoll received the inaugural Hibernia College Medal for Excellence, which rewards both on-field effort and off-field committment to the sport.

YouTube Credit: TheUAFC

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Niall Kelly

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