The Irish Rugby Union Players Association today announced the nominations for Irish rugby’s ultimate accolade, the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year 2009.
The Players’ Player of the Year award is one of six which will be announced at the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Rugby Awards on Wednesday, May 6 at Dublin’s Burlington Hotel.
These are the only awards voted for by the players themselves and votes are cast from across all four provinces.
Ireland’s 2009 Lions dominate the nominations and amongst the favourites to land the coveted Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year gong are 2008 winner Tommy Bowe of the Ospreys, Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris and Grand Slam-winning captain Brian O’Driscoll of Leinster.
Bowe also received a nomination in the Tyrone Crystal Try of the Year category for his stunning try against Wales in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship decider, delivering Ireland’s first Grand Slam for 61 years.
On hearing the news of double nomination, the Monaghan man said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be nominated by my peers for these awards and to be nominated in two categories is a great honour for me and my family.
“This has been an unbelievable season for me and for Irish rugby and to be nominated alongside the outstanding names on this list is a privilege.”
Niall Woods, Chief Executive of IRUPA, said: “Winning an award voted for by players who you play and compete against is the best tribute for any rugby player.
“In this Grand Slam year, so many players were in contention for awards making it the closest run competition to date.”
Among the four other awards is the IRUPA Nature Valley Young Player of the Year Award, contested this year by a feast of talented players including Ulster’s Darren Cave and Keith Earls of Munster who faces stiff competition from 2008 winner, Leinster’s Cian Healy.
David Bunworth, MD, Bord Gáis Energy, said: “We’re delighted to partner with IRUPA for these Rugby Awards which celebrate excellence on the field.
“These players show immense commitment week in and week out both on the national and provincial stage and we’re very excited to be involved in this unique event.”
For the first time, the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Awards will feature an award voted for by the public.
The Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Supporters’ Player of the Year will be voted by listeners of Newstalk 106-108FM.
Tune in to Newstalk from Monday, April 27 to vote for your player and become part of the action. The award will be presented at the IRUPA Bord Gáis Energy Awards on May 6.
BORD GÁIS ENERGY IRUPA PLAYERS PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2009 –
Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
IRUPA CLUB ENERGISE SPORT UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR 2009 –
Rory Best (Ulster)
John Hayes (Munster)
Stan Wright (Leinster)
IRUPA NATURE VALLEY YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2009 –
Darren Cave (Ulster)
Keith Earls (Munster)
Cian Healy (Leinster)
IRUPA TYRONE CRYSTAL TRY OF YEAR 2009 –
Tommy Bowe, Wales v Ireland
Jamie Heaslip, Ireland v France
Brian O’Driscoll, Leinster v Wasps