4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
Following their win over Cork Constitution in the AIB League Final, Shannon R.F.C. have been voted Club of the Year, while the Tom Rooney Memorial Award, presented for an exceptional contribution to Irish rugby, has been won by Irelands Triple Crown winning Coach, Eddie O'Sullivan.
Two new members - Bill Mulcahy and Noel Murphy were inducted to the Guinness Hall of Fame.
Mr. Charlie Mulqueen, Chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland and Mr. Pat Barry 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 Nations Championship, D' Arcy's talent was evident at an early age where he won the Leinster Senior Schools Cup in 1998 with Clongowes Wood College. He went on to represent Ireland Schools, Irish Under 21's and Ireland A before winning his first full cap as a teenager against Romania in the 1999 World Cup. His move to the centre for Leinster this season was a revelation and such was his impact in that position that he made his Six nations debut in the centre against France in February. He had an outstanding campaign, illustrated by the fact that he finished top of the rating in the championship. He scored two tries in the match against Scotland that clinched the Triple Crown for Ireland.
Tom Rooney Memorial Award - Eddie O'Sullivan. For his outstanding achievement in coaching the Ireland team to the Triple Crown this season, Ireland's first Triple Crown since 1985 and for his general 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 experience as a coach at club level includes Monivea, Blackrock College and Buccaneers. He was been both assistant and Head Coach to Connacht, and he coached the Irish Under 21 team to Triple Crown and Championship successes. He then took the role of National Technical Director to the USA, and was part of the Eagles staff during the 1999 World Cup. He subsequently returned to Ireland as assistant national coach and in November 2001 took over as Ireland coach. He coached Ireland to a record 10 consecutive victories and second place in the six nations last season and again this season and to the quarterfinals of the 2003 World Cup. During his tenure of office the Ireland team has lost just one match at Lansdowne Road.
Club of the Season - Shannon. The outstanding club team not alone in Munster but on the national scene. Shannon won the AIB All Ireland League for a record sixth time, beating Cork Constitution in the final. At provincial level they retained the Munster Senior League title and also won the Munster Senior Cup for a record fifth consecutive season.
Hall of Fame - N.A. (Noel) Murphy. Noel Murphy comes from one of Ireland's most renowned rugby families who hold a unique place in the annals of the game in this country - Noel Murphy, emulated the achievement of his father by being capped for Ireland and when his son Kenny was also capped the Murphy's became the first and to date only family to have father, son and grandson capped at senior level. Noel won 41 caps between 1958 and 1969, captaining Ireland on five occasions and toured twice with the Lions, to Australia in 1966 and New Zealand in 1959. He also played for the Barbarians. He played at club level for Cork Constitution and Garryowen. He coached his club, his province and between 1977 and 1980, the Ireland team. He coached the Lions team that toured South Africa in 1980. He has been president of Cork Constitution, the Munster Branch and the IRFU. He is currently one of Ireland's representatives on the International Rugby Board and the ERC.
Hall of Fame - W.A. (Bill) Mulcahy. Bill Mulcahy was educated at St. Munchin's College and University College Dublin. At provincial level he played for Leinster in an interprovincial career that embraced 40 caps. He captained Leinster on 11 occasions and like Noel Murphy made his international debut in the famous win over Australia in 1958. He won 35 caps for Ireland between 1958 and 1965. He also captained Ireland on 11 occasions. He was twice a tourist with the Lions, to Australia and New Zealand in 1959 and to South Africa in 1962 and played in six tests. He also played for the Barbarians. At club level he played for UCD, Bohemians, Bective Rangers and Skerries. He captained both UCD and Bective Rangers and then rendered outstanding services to the Skerries club as coach and administrator, on occasions he filled in as player for the club when the necessity arose.