Other award winners for 2006 were Shannon RFC (Club Of The Year), Kevin Kelleher (Tom Rooney Award), Munster (Dave Guiney Award/Team Of The Year), Mick Molloy and Willie John McBride (Hall Of Fame).
Diageo's Michael Whelan presents Paul O'Connell with the Player Of They Year gong at the Killiney Castle Hotel.
The Limerick man, Munster's new captain, is hoping to continue the winning trend with Ireland in the upcoming Autumn Test Series. He said: "The Autumn internationals give us another major opportunity to measure ourselves against the best sides in the world. It's going to be tough, but we're going into each and every game with confidence."
O'Connell's highlights for last season included Ireland's Triple Crown-clinching win over England and Munster's Heineken Cup triumph. He added: "Beating England at Twickenham was a magnificent achievement, and a measure of the way we're thinking these days.
"Munster's win in the European Cup final was smashing and now we have to go on from here, try to move on and try to move upwards."
Ireland scrum half Peter Stringer accepts the Dave Guiney (Perpetual) Trophy, awarded to the Team Of The Year, on Munster's behalf from Roddy Guiney.
The Tom Rooney Award for his exceptional contribution to rugby over the years, was given to former international referee Kevin Kelleher, the Honorary Secretary of the Schools Section of the Leinster Branch, IRFU, which he has looked after for over 50 years. Kieran Rooney is pictured alongside him.
Michael Whelan and Kieran Rooney present Dr. Mick Molloy, the former Ireland lock who is now the IRB's Medical Officer, with his award for being inducted into the Guinness Rugby Writers Of Ireland Hall Of Fame. Molloy's long-timesecond row partner Willie John McBride was also an inductee this year.
Coach Mick Galwey and Club President Gerry Ryan accept the award for Club Of The Year on Shannon RFC's behalf, from Michael Whelan. The Limerick club won seven titles last season, including a record eighth AIB League Division One crown and the All-Ireland Under-20 championship.
**All photos by Brendan Moran of Sportsfile**