Ireland winger Tommy Bowe has been named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year for 2010. He received his award at a function in the Aviva Stadium on Monday night.
Tommy Bowe was a very deserving winner of the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award, having maintained a high level of performance throughout 2010 for both the Ospreys and Ireland.
The reigning Irish and Welsh Rugby Players’ Player of the Year, Bowe was also named the RBS Player of the Six Nations and Magners League Player of the Year earlier this year.
The 26-year-old winger won the Magners League title with the Ospreys in May and just last Saturday became the first Irish international try scorer at the Aviva Stadium when touching down against South Africa.
Recent winners of the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award have included Gordon D’Arcy (2004), Ronan O’Gara (2005), Paul O’Connell (2006), Felipe Contepomi (2007), Ronan O’Gara (2008) and Brian O’Driscoll (2009).
There was also a special award on the night for Ireland’s three centurions as the rugby writers honoured John Hayes, Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara for their remarkable 100 cap achievements.
Meanwhile, reigning All-Ireland League and Cup champions, Cork Constitution FC, were voted Club of the Year for 2010 and the Ireland Under-20s picked up the Dave Guiney perpetual award as Team of the Year in recognition of their U-20 Six Nations triumph.
The Tom Rooney award for making an exceptional contribution to the game went to Gerry Murphy, the former Ireland coach and current Leinster provincial domestic team manager.
The two new Guinness Hall of Fame inductees for 2010 are former Ireland back rower Willie Duggan and winger Cecil Pedlow.
Oliver Loomes of Diageo Ireland and Brendan Fanning, Chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland, jointly presented the awards.
2010 GUINNESS RUGBY WRITERS OF IRELAND AWARD WINNERS:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Tommy Bowe had an exceptional year winning nearly every award available to him both at home and abroad and adds the Guinness Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year award to his collection.
A former Monaghan minor Gaelic footballer, Bowe became the first man from the Farney county to play for Ireland in 80 years when he lined out against America.
A regular starter for Ulster, he moved to Welsh club the Ospreys but it was not until the 2008 Six Nations that Bowe really began to establish himself, scoring two tries.
He repeated that feat in 2009 season with a superb breakaway try against the Italians and a magical catch-and-run from Ronan O’Gara’s chip at the Millennium Stadium, which helped Ireland seal their Grand Slam victory.
Bowe has emerged as one of Ireland’s most consistent performers and was duly rewarded with a call-up to the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in the summer of 2009. He has scored five tries in his last six Tests for Ireland.
CLUB OF THE YEAR –
Cork Constitution enjoyed an exceptional campaign in the 2009/10 season, scooping a famous All-Ireland League and Cup double.
Rugby was a different game when they won Club of the Year award for the first time back in 1991, but they have adapted along the way and bring to the league a level of professionalism that is a model for the club game in Ireland.
Their senior side currently sit top of the table in All-Ireland League Division 1A, and this evening they are honoured as Club of the Year for the fourth time.
DAVE GUINEY AWARD (TEAM OF THE YEAR) –
The Ireland Under-20s had another outstanding season as they topped the table in their RBS Under-20 6 Nations Championship campaign. Second-placed England needed a 47-point winning margin against France in order to knock Ireland off top spot but they could only manage a 47-31 scoreline in Saint Nazaire.
That left Allen Clarke’s Ireland squad to celebrate a well-deserved title success as, with four wins from five games, they become the first Irish winners of the Under-20 crown since the 2007 Grand Slam side.
The class of 2010, captained by flanker Rhys Ruddock, completed their campaign with a brilliant 44-15 victory over Scotland at Dubarry Park, which is now a recognised ‘fortress’ for the Under-20 sides.
TOM ROONEY AWARD (FOR SERVICES TO RUGBY) –
Gerry Murphy, who is a worthy winner of the Tom Rooney award for services to rugby, played for Dublin University and Wanderers, where he began his coaching career.
He spent a season with Clontarf before coaching the Ireland Under-21 squad and the Development squad that toured South Africa.
The Dubliner then led Ireland between 1992 and 1995, including successive victories over England in Dublin in 1993 and Twickenham in 1994 and his spell concluded by guiding Ireland to a quarter-final place in the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. He also spent six years coaching with Terenure College.
Murphy was appointed Leinster’s provincial domestic team manager in August 2008. He oversees the implementation of Leinster’s underage representative strategy.
GUINNESS HALL OF FAME –
Willie Duggan won 41 Irish caps, between January 1975 and March 1984, finishing his international career as captain of Ireland. He played club rugby for Blackrock College RFC.
He was widely regarded as one of the world’s top number 8s during the amateur era and in 1977 he was selected to represent the British & Irish Lions on their tour to New Zealand.
Cecil Pedlow entered the international arena in March 1953 when Ireland played their final match of their Five Nations campaign.
He went on to gain 30 caps playing both on the wing and in the centre over the next 11 seasons. In all, he scored 31 points for Ireland and also toured with the Lions in 1955 when he was capped in two Tests, scoring a try in the first and a conversion in the second. A dentist by profession, Pedlow also played squash for Ireland.