Following their win over Cork Constitution in the AIB League Final,ShannonR.F.C. have been voted Club of the Year, while the Tom RooneyMemorialAward, presented for an exceptional contribution to Irish rugby, hasbeenwon by Irelands Triple Crown winning Coach, Eddie O'Sullivan.
Two new members - BillMulcahy and Noel Murphy were inducted to the Guinness Hall of Fame.
Mr. Charlie Mulqueen, Chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland andMr. PatBarry of Guinness presented the trophies to the award winners.
Player of the Year - Gordon D'Arcy.Ireland's outstanding player of this years RBS Six NationsChampionship, D'Arcy's talent was evident at an early age where he won the LeinsterSeniorSchools Cup in 1998 with Clongowes Wood College. He went on torepresentIreland Schools, Irish Under 21's and Ireland A before winning hisfirstfull cap as a teenager against Romania in the 1999 World Cup. Hismove tothe centre for Leinster this season was a revelation and such was hisimpactin that position that he made his Six nations debut in the centreagainstFrance in February. He had an outstanding campaign, illustrated bythe factthat he finished top of the rating in the championship. He scored twotriesin the match against Scotland that clinched the Triple Crown forIreland.
Tom Rooney Memorial Award - Eddie O'Sullivan.For his outstanding achievement in coaching the Ireland team to theTripleCrown this season, Ireland's first Triple Crown since 1985 and for hisgeneral contribution in a very distinguished coaching career, Eddie O'Sullivan is a very worthy recipient of the Tom Rooney Memorial Award.O'Sullivan played for Garryowen and Munster, his extensive experienceas acoach at club level includes Monivea, Blackrock College andBuccaneers. Hewas been both assistant and Head Coach to Connacht, and he coachedthe IrishUnder 21 team to Triple Crown and Championship successes. He thentook therole of National Technical Director to the USA, and was part of theEaglesstaff during the 1999 World Cup. He subsequently returned to Irelandasassistant national coach and in November 2001 took over as Irelandcoach. Hecoached Ireland to a record 10 consecutive victories and second placein thesix nations last season and again this season and to thequarterfinals ofthe 2003 World Cup. During his tenure of office the Ireland team haslost
Club of the Season - Shannon.The outstanding club team not alone in Munster but on the nationalscene.Shannon won the AIB All Ireland League for a record sixth time,beating CorkConstitution in the final. At provincial level they retained theMunsterSenior League title and also won the Munster Senior Cup for a recordfifthconsecutive season.
Hall of Fame - N.A. (Noel) Murphy.Noel Murphy comes from one of Ireland's most renowned rugby familieswhohold a unique place in the annals of the game in this country - NoelMurphy,emulated the achievement of his father by being capped for Irelandand whenhis son Kenny was also capped the Murphy's became the first and todate onlyfamily to have father, son and grandson capped at senior level. Noelwon 41caps between 1958 and 1969, captaining Ireland on five occasions andtouredtwice with the Lions, to Australia in 1966 and New Zealand in 1959.He alsoplayed for the Barbarians. He played at club level for CorkConstitution andGarryowen. He coached his club, his province and between 1977 and1980, theIreland team. He coached the Lions team that toured South Africa in1980. Hehas been president of Cork Constitution, the Munster Branch and theIRFU. Heis currently one of Ireland's representatives on the InternationalRugbyBoard and the ERC.
Hall of Fame - W.A. (Bill) Mulcahy. Bill Mulcahy was educated at St. Munchin's College and UniversityCollegeDublin. At provincial level he played for Leinster in aninterprovincialcareer that embraced 40 caps. He captained Leinster on 11 occasionsand likeNoel Murphy made his international debut in the famous win overAustralia in1958. He won 35 caps for Ireland between 1958 and 1965. He alsocaptainedIreland on 11 occasions. He was twice a tourist with the Lions, toAustralia and New Zealand in 1959 and to South Africa in 1962 andplayed insix tests. He also played for the Barbarians. At club level heplayed forUCD, Bohemians, Bective Rangers and Skerries. He captained both UCDandBective Rangers and then rendered outstanding services to theSkerries clubas coach and administrator, on occasions he filled in as player forthe clubwhen the necessity arose.