Ireland coach Declan Kidney beat off stiff competition from the likes of Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody, Bohemians soccer boss Pat Fenlon and Tyrone football supremo Mickey Harte to be named the 2008 Philips Sports Manager of the Year.
Kidney received his award at a ceremony at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel on Thursday and it is the second time in three years that he has been bestowed with this particular honour.
The Philips Sports Manager of the Year award is contested by the twelve winners of the year’s Philips Sports Manager of the Month gongs.
Kidney, who won three Philips monthly awards this year, was recognised for the achievement of steering Munster to their second Heineken Cup in three seasons.
2008 was a memorable year for the Corkman. As well as his success with Munster, he took over as Ireland coach and guided the team to two wins over Canada and Argentina in his first three matches in charge.
Speaking afterwards, Kidney said: “We (Munster) had an exceptional couple of years and it’s still ongoing. To be a small part of that was just great.
“Today is just really about being a figurehead again for the work of so many people that are involved in Munster off the pitch. The ones that do all the hard work. They just put the coach out in front.
“I think it always comes down to the players and when you’re working with that quality of players it’s a real joy to work it.”