Ulster and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble has been named the GUINNESS Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year at the annual GUINNESS Rugby Writers of Ireland Awards.
Andrew Trimble was honoured at the awards dinner this evening in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. He was delighted to receive the accolade, which was voted for by the Irish rugby media.
“It’s a huge honour for me to receive the GUINNESS Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award. It’s always nice picking up an individual award like this, but I have to put it down to being part of such a successful Ireland team last season,” he admitted.
“It’s unfortunate to be injured at the moment, but watching the team play as well as they did against South Africa at the weekend makes me even more determined to get back on the pitch as soon as I can.”
Trimble was a formidable player for his country last season, and his efforts along with the rest of the squad resulted in Ireland being awarded the Dave Guiney Team of the Year after claiming the Six Nations trophy in dramatic fashion in Paris last March.
Niamh Briggs picked up the Women’s Player of the Year award for a second successive season after a fantastic performance at full-back during the Women’s Rugby World Cup. She excelled in all aspects of her game, but especially from the kicking tee as Ireland recorded victories over New Zealand, USA and Kazakhstan. Briggs’ performances also earned her a nomination for IRB Women’s Player of the Year.
Clontarf FC were crowned the Club of the Year after they secured the first Ulster Bank League Division 1A title in the club’s history. They also marked the 1000th year anniversary of the ‘Battle of Clontarf’ with a historic win over the Barbarians.
The Tom Rooney award was awarded jointly to Phillip Doyle (former Ireland Women’s head coach) and Fiona Coghlan (former Ireland Women’s captain), in recognition of the huge contribution both individuals have made to the development and success of Women’s rugby in Ireland at all levels in recent years.
Former Ireland and British & Irish Lions full-back Hugo MacNeill was inducted into the GUINNESS Hall of Fame.
The award ceremony was hosted by Peter O’Brien of GUINNESS, John D O’Brien and Michael Corcoran, Chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland.
2014 GUINNESS RUGBY WRITERS OF IRELAND AWARD WINNERS:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – ANDREW TRIMBLE
Ulster and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble was awarded the GUINNESS Rugby Writers Player of the Year Award after a stand-out season with the national side.
Trimble helped Ireland to the Six Nations title, scoring three tries along the way. His defensive performances during the Championship against some challenging opponents aided Ireland in only conceding four tries during the whole tournament.
Trimble, who turned 30 last month, also touched down six times for Ulster, including a hat-trick in the interprovincial derby against Connacht.
DAVE GUINEY AWARD (TEAM OF THE YEAR) – IRELAND
The Irish side were awarded the Dave Guiney Team of the Year award in recognition of a stellar Six Nations campaign which saw them claim their second Six Nations Championship of the professional era, scoring 16 tries along the way.
The Ireland team opened their campaign with convincing victories over Wales and Scotland before losing 13-10 to England in Twickenham, however they followed up this loss two weeks later with a convincing 46-7 win over Italy at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland travelled to Paris to take on France in the final game of the Championship knowing a victory would secure the Six Nations title. Joe Schmidt’s men outscored France by three tries to two, with Jonathan Sexton and Andrew Trimble touching down.
The final minutes of the game saw Ireland defend valiantly to hold on for a famous 22-20 victory.
TOM ROONEY AWARD – PHILIP DOYLE AND FIONA COGHLAN
Philip Doyle stepped down as head coach of the Ireland Women’s side following a memorable World Cup campaign which saw the team beat New Zealand 17-14 and reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Doyle, fondly known as ‘Goose’ in rugby circles, was in charge of the national side between 2003 and 2006. He took over the reins again in 2010 and guided the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013.
Fiona Coghlan also retired from the Irish Women’s side following this year’s World Cup, having played international rugby for 13 years and picked up 85 caps.
The former UL Bohemians prop, who works as a school teacher, lifted the Six Nations trophy in 2013 and also had the honour of captaining Ireland to a highest ever placing of fourth at this year’s World Cup.
GUINNESS HALL OF FAME – HUGO MACNEILL
Hugo MacNeill played at full-back for Ireland from 1981 to 1988, picking up 40 international caps including three for the British & Irish Lions on the New Zealand tour of 1983.
MacNeill scored 10 tries for Ireland during his career and played his club rugby at Oxford University.
WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR – NIAMH BRIGGS
Niamh Briggs plays her club rugby with UL Bohemians and with Munster at provincial level. The Dungarvan native helped Ireland claim famous victory over New Zealand at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup with her impressive place-kicking and the assist for Alison Miller’s try.
Briggs is a former Gaelic Footballer with Waterford and works as a Garda in Limerick.
CLUB OF THE YEAR – CLONTARF RUGBY CLUB
Clontarf FC was founded in 1879 and is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Ireland. The club has enjoyed reasonable success over the years in domestic competitions, but it was not until the 2013/14 season that the north Dubliners claimed their first ever All-Ireland title.
The club has a proud tradition of producing players for the Ireland Club international side, as well as having a number of players on provincial sides across the country.