The nominees for the annual Guinness Ulster Rugby Awards ceremony, which this year will be held on Thursday, May 15 at La Mon House Hotel in Belfast, were announced on Tuesday.
The Guinness Ulster Rugby Awards ceremony, which is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, celebrates the achievements and development of rugby at all levels, and brings together the cream of the crop in Ulster.
From schools, youth, club and professional levels, the Awards recognise the role that they all play in the development of the game.
Terry Loughins of Diageo said: “Once again I look forward to a fantastic night of celebration as Ulster rugby select its best. With a superb new venue at La Mon House Hotel the scene is set for a night to remember.”
While the top accolade of Guinness Ulster Rugby Personality of the Year will remain a closely guarded secret until the night, the nominees for the other awards represent clubs from right across the province, and are as follows:
CALOR GAS YOUTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jarryd Bennett (Letterkenny), Dominic Gallagher (Lisburn), James Simpson (Ballynahinch)
NORTHERN BANK LTD SCHOOLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jonny Shiels, Nevin Spence, Niall Annett
KUKRI CLUB OF THE YEAR – Armagh, Letterkenny, Portadown
KEN GOODALL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PLAYER AT THE SPORTS INSTITUTE – Chris Cochrane (Queen’s University RFC), Paul Karraynnis (Queen’s University RFC), Ian Whitten (Queen’s University RFC)
PERENNIALS DORRINGTON B. FAULKNER, ‘UNSUNG HERO’ AWARD – Towey Neale (Lisburn RFC), John Hamilton (Lisburn RFC), David Wishart (Dungannon RFC)
BANK OF IRELAND ULSTER PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Rory Best (Ulster Rugby – Belfast Harlequins), Tommy Bowe (Ulster Rugby – Belfast Harlequins), Matt McCullough (Ulster Rugby – Ballymena)
FIRST TRUST BANK CLUB PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Adam Telford (Instonians), Craig Woods (Ballymena), Ian Porter (Queens)
BELFAST TELEGRAPH MERIT AWARD – announced on Thursday, May 15
VODAFONE YOUNG ULSTER PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Niall O’Connor (Ulster Rugby – Belfast Harlequins), Mark McCrea (Ulster Rugby – Malone), David Pollock (Ulster Rugby – Dungannon)
GUINNESS ULSTER RUGBY PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – announced on Thursday, May 15