18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
In Leinster, the players awards were announced, Victor Costello named as Leinster Senior Player of the Year.
Nigel Peavoy, from Portlaoise who was recently named as Greencore Towns Cup Man of the Match at the final, was awarded Leinster League Player of the Year.
Former Leinster Branch President Ken Mills (1986-87) received the Hall of Fame Award, with Lansdowne's John Lyne voted the Young Player of the Year.
Down south, it was the first time such an event was held and the proceeds from the night are earmarked for the Special Olympics and the Mick O'Connell Appeal.
Over 300 turned up to the black-tie affair in The South Court Hotel and there were just three award categories. The Munster Rugby Supporters Club voted Ronan O'Gara as their Player of the Year with Mossy Lawler wining the Most Promising Player award. Each received a beautifully crafted bronze scuplure, the work of Jarlath Daly, a Clanwilliam man, now resident in Celbridge, Co Kildare.
In a novel move by the Munster players, a special category was introduced - Munster Rugby Supporter Of The Year - and brothers Steve and Tony Murray were on hand to recieve their award, presented by Munster lock Paul O'Connell. The Murrays, originally from Patrickswell, are now resident in Leamington Spa in England and have travelled to every Munster game this season including the warm-up game before the Heineken Cup semi-final. against Borders in Thomond Park.