Ian Madigan was named the Bank of Ireland Leinster Players’ Player of the Year at the annual awards ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on Saturday evening.
The Blackrock College out-half received the coveted award, thus following in the footsteps of recent winners Gordon D’Arcy, Felipe Contepomi, Rocky Elsom, Isa Nacewa and Rob Kearney.
The 500 guests present included players, coaches, clubs, schools, sponsors and Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC) members, representing all parts of the provincial game.
Academy graduate Ian Madigan has played an influential role for the province in 28 appearances to date this season (scoring 8 tries and 226 points).
He has been a standout performer in Leinster’s RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup campaigns, and also made his Ireland debut against France during this year’s Six Nations.
A number of the departing players were honoured including Damian Browne, Fionn Carr, Andrew Conway, Mark Flanagan, Jamie Hagan, Jonathan Sexton, Thomas Sexton and Heinke van der Merwe, while there was a special commemoration for Isa Nacewa who will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
Former Leinster great Eddie Coleman was inducted into the Guinness Hall of Fame to honour a lifetime’s involvement at all levels of the game.
He was educated in Terenure College and after he retired as a player, in a playing career which saw him gain interprovincial honours, he served on the Terenure College RFC executive and held the office of President of the club in the 1993/94 season.
Eddie was elected President of the Leinster Branch in 1989/90, President of the IRFU in 2000/01 and acted as Chairman of both the Leinster and Ireland selectors. On and off the field his contribution to the game has been immense.
Meanwhile, Leinster Academy back rower Jordi Murphy was voted the Powerade Young Player of the Year.
Jordi has been in consistent form for the senior side over the course of the campaign and though sidelined recently with a broken hand, he has featured in 17 games so far this season (scoring three tries), and made a timely return in Friday’s final round match against the Ospreys.
The former Ireland Under-20 international has also featured in the province’s march through to the British & Irish Cup final and recently signed a two-year professional contract.
Isa Nacewa received the Conrad Hotel Tackle of Year for a tackle made on Ulster’s Stuart Olding at the RDS recently, while Mike Ross picked up the Try of the Year award for his effort in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final victory over London Wasps, as voted for by readers of the Herald.
In what was another remarkable year for Leinster schools rugby, Blackrock College were awarded the Powerade School of the Year gong for winning both the Senior and Junior Cup competitions.
Blackrock’s Senior Cup triumph demonstrated great determination and self belief in their late victories over Cistercian College Roscrea in the semi-final and St. Michael’s College in the final.
Their Junior team was extremely impressive throughout the cup campaign, playing entertaining and skilful rugby. A special merit award was awarded to St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan for the huge strides they have made in recent years.
The Cityjet Ladies Player of the Year went to Ailis Egan who has been an outstanding player for Leinster Women this season. Coaches and players enthused about the Old Belvedere tighthead prop’s positive attitude and phenomenal work rate on the pitch.
Ailis has excelled this year with commanding performances throughout the interprovincial series making her a standout player on any pitch against any opposition that she has played this season.
Eugene Noble from Clondalkin RFC has been awarded this season’s Leinster Women’s Rugby Club Person of the Year, sponsored by Cityjet.
Eugene has put in a huge amount of hard work and effort into the promotion of women’s rugby within both his own club and for his years of participation working on the Women’s Competitions Committee in Leinster.
Canterbury Junior Club of the Year Tullamore RFC have enjoyed one of the most successful seasons ever by any club in the province as they won all five competitions in which they played.
After winning the Midland J1 League to commence the season, they completed the amazing quintet of trophies recently with victory over Longford in the Provincial Towns Cup, sponsored by Cleaning Contractors.
In between, Tullamore successfully defended their All-Ireland Junior Cup title before winning Division 1A of the Leinster League which acted as a prelude to their successful assault on the Ulster Bank League Round Robin series.
As a result of winning the Provincial League Championship against the top teams from the other three provinces, Tullamore will compete in the Division 2B of the Ulster Bank League next season, the first time the county Offaly club will play at this level. A truly outstanding season for an outstanding club.
Aaron Deverell picked up the Canterbury Club Player of the Year after being an integral part of Tullamore’s Provincial Towns Cup winning team.
Aaron captained Tullamore to unprecedented success in 2012/13 as they racked up an impressive five cups to adorn the trophy cabinet in their Spollanstown clubhouse.
As out-half he orchestrated a back-line that improved significantly, game on game, as the season progressed.
After appearing in three heart-breaking Towns Cup final defeats in recent years the 28-year-old Junior interprovincial gave a man-of-the-match performance in magnificently leading his side to a richly-fulfilling Towns Cup victory against Longford.
With his rounded kicking and running game, he will surely thrive on the national stage over the coming years. A popular and unanimous choice for Club Player of the Year.
Railway Union’s Kirstin Smith set the benchmark this year by consistently promoting her club to a variety of media with fresh, innovative and interesting content and Kirtsin’s voluntary efforts were rewarded with the Herald Public Relations Officer of the Year.
Honorary Life Patron of Leinster Rugby was awarded to David and Cathy Shubotham for their significant contribution to a number of projects, especially the considerable support given to the new Leinster Rugby headquarters in UCD.
Barry Murphy was the Master of Ceremonies on a successful night which saluted an outstanding year for the game of rugby in Leinster, with music by the Bentley Boys and the Keynotes.
2012/13 LEINSTER ANNUAL AWARDS BALL WINNERS:
Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year: Ian Madigan
Powerade Young Player of the Year: Jordi Murphy
Powerade School of the Year: Blackrock College
Herald PRO of the Year: Kirstin Smith (Railway Union)
Cityjet Women’s Player of the Year: Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere)
Guinness Hall of Fame: Eddie Coleman
Canterbury Club Player of the Year: Aaron Deverell (Tullamore)
Canterbury Junior Club of the Year: Tullamore RFC
Evening Herald Try of the Year: Mike Ross v London Wasps
Conrad Hotel Tackle of the Year: Isa Nacewa v Ulster
Cityjet Women’s Rugby Club Person of the Year: Eugene Noble (Clondalkin RFC)
Special Merit School: St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan
Honorary Lifetime Patron: David & Cathy Shubotham