Ireland’s Rugby Players Association, IRUPA today announced the nominations for Irish rugby’s ultimate accolade, the Hibernia College IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year award for 2014.
In the running to land the much-sought after award are three of Ireland’s Six Nations winning team – Munster and Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony, Leinster and Ireland lock Devin Toner and Ulster and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble.
The IRUPA Awards mark one of the biggest nights in all of Irish sport. They are the only national awards voted for by the players themselves, with votes collected from the entire professional player group across the country.
IRUPA Chairman Rob Kearney said: “All awards presented on the night are hugely significant, as there is no higher accolade than being recognised by your peers who you go into battle with each week.
“The Hibernia College Player of the Year award is particularly coveted as it represents the one outstanding performer in all of Irish rugby as voted by all fellow players.”
The award is one of ten including three new categories which will be announced at the sell-out ceremony hosted by former Wales and Lions number 8 Scott Quinnell on Wednesday, May 7 at Dublin’s DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
Among the other awards is the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year, contested this year by a host of talented young players including the 2013 winner, Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw, and two graduates of the Leinster Academy – Jack McGrath and Jordi Murphy.
The Volkswagen Try of the Year includes JJ Hanrahan’s last-gasp effort against Perpignan which helped Munster to secure a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup, Rob Kearney’s intercept try during Ireland’s heartbreaking November defeat to New Zealand and Jonathan Sexton’s second try against France in Paris to secure the Six Nations title for Ireland.
IRUPA is introducing the Boardmatch Contribution to Society award which will be presented to a player or former player who has made a significant impact to society outside of rugby.
Members of the public can now also get involved by nominating their Powerscourt Hotel Rugby Moment of the Year via Twitter @PowerscourtHtl using the hashtag #PHMOTY and with an amazing season almost behind us there will be plenty to nominate.
Continuing their commitment to deliver the best Player Development Programme to the professional game, IRUPA has extended this hugely successful off-field development programme to the Ireland Women’s Sevens squad as they bid to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
The 2014 Awards will also see the inaugural BNY Mellon Women’s Sevens Player of the Year as voted by members of the Ireland Sevens squad.
2014 is the third year of the Hibernia College Medal for Excellence which will be awarded to the individual who demonstrates exceptional commitment to the game both on and off field.
This is a player who matches their playing and training with team support, studies, work, mentoring, charity and community involvement. Players across the provinces voted for Leinster’s Shane Jennings, Ronan Loughney from Connacht and Munster’s Donncha O’Callaghan.
Munster’s James Coughlan, Roger Wilson of Ulster and for the third time, Michael Swift from Connacht have been shortlisted for the IRUPA O2 Unsung Hero award.
Now thanks to O2, you can have your say and vote for your favourite on Twitter @O2IrlRugby using the hashtag #O2UnsungHero. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.
Rugby fans across Ireland can again vote for their Supporters’ Player of the Year on Newstalk106-108fm.
Tune in to ‘Off the Ball’ on Newstalk106-108fm from Monday, April 28 to vote, and to be in with a chance to attend the event on Wednesday, May 7. The award will be presented to the winning player at the awards ceremony.
For awards updates, follow IRUPA on Twitter or use the hashtag: #irupas2014.
2014 IRUPA PLAYERS’ AWARDS NOMINATIONS:
HIBERNIA COLLEGE IRUPA PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Peter O’Mahony (Munster)
Devin Toner (Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Robbie Henshaw (Connacht)
Jack McGrath (Leinster)
Jordi Murphy (Leinster)
VOLKSWAGEN TRY OF YEAR
JJ Hanrahan, Munster v Perpignan away (Heineken Cup)
Rob Kearney, Ireland v New Zealand (GUINNESS Series)
Jonathan Sexton, Ireland v France (RBS 6 Nations)
HIBERNIA COLLEGE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE
Shane Jennings (Leinster)
Ronan Loughney (Connacht)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)
BNY MELLON IRUPA HALL OF FAME
Recipient to be announced on Tuesday, April 29
POWERSCOURT HOTEL MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Voted by the public on Twitter @PowerscourtHtl #PHMOTY; the Rugby Moment of the Year will be unveiled at the awards ceremony
BNY MELLON WOMEN’S SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The inaugural recipient to be announced at the awards ceremony
BOARDMATCH IRELAND CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY
The award will be presented at the awards ceremony
O2 UNSUNG HERO
You can view and vote for the IRUPA O2 Unsung Hero on Twitter @O2IrlRugby using the hashtag #O2UnsungHero. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony
NEWSTALK106FM SUPPORTERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Supporters’ Player of the Year, as voted by listeners of Newstalk106fm, will be announced at the awards ceremont. Tune into Off the Ball from Monday, April 28 to vote.