Ireland’s Rugby Players Association, IRUPA, today unveiled the nominations for Irish rugby’s ultimate individual accolade – the Hibernia College IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year award for 2015.
Standout performances across the GUINNESS Series and back-to-back Six Nations titles made for very competitive voting, meaning that for the first time ever four players have been nominated for the top award.
In the running to land the sought-after award are four of Ireland’s 2015 Championship-winning team – Robbie Henshaw, who is also nominated for the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year honour, half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton and team captain Paul O’Connell, who earned his 100th Ireland cap during the campaign.
The Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year award is contested by a host of talented young players. Leinster have two representatives in Jack Conan and Jack McGrath, while going for a three in-a-row is Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw, the 2013 and 2014 winner.
The Volkswagen Try of the Year nominations includes a superb effort by two-time winner Craig Gilroy for his try for Ulster against the Scarlets. Robbie Henshaw’s try in Ireland’s win over England was also nominated along with a supreme piece of individual skill by Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion for his try against Leinster in the PRO12.
The sold-out ceremony, hosted by Kyran Bracken, takes place at Dublin’s Double Tree by Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, May 13. The IRUPA Awards mark one of the biggest nights in Irish sport and are the only national awards voted for by the players themselves, with votes collected from professional players across the country.
Commenting on the Awards, IRUPA Board Member and Player of the Year for 2014, Andrew Trimble, said: “To be nominated for an IRUPA award is such a fantastic achievement, it really is a great honour to be recognised by your fellow players. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and wish them the best and hope they enjoy the night.”
The Hibernia College Medal for Excellence 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 Ulster’s Chris Henry, Munster’s Felix Jones and Connacht stalwart Michael Swift.
Ulster’s Callum Black, Leinster winger Darragh Fanning and Denis Hurley of Munster have been shortlisted for the IRUPA 3 Unsung Hero award. Now thanks to Three, you can have your say and vote for your favourite on Twitter @ThreeIrlRugby using the hashtag #3UnsungHero. The winner will be announced at the ceremony.
Following its introduction last year, the Zurich Contribution to Society award will be given 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 #PHMoment15.
Rugby fans across Ireland can again vote for their Supporters’ Player of the Year on Newstalk106-108fm. Tune into ‘Off the Ball’ on Newstalk106-108fm from Monday, May 4 to vote, and to be in with a chance to attend the event on Wednesday, May 13. The award will be presented to the winning player at the ceremony.
The BNY Mellon Women’s Sevens Player of the Year award will be presented on the night and the 2015 BNY Mellon Hall of Fame recipient will be announced on Tuesday, May 5.
More information on the awards including all the new categories can be found on www.irupa.ie.
For awards updates, please visit the IRUPA Twitter page or use the hashtag #irupas2015.
2015 HIBERNIA COLLEGE IRUPA AWARDS NOMINATIONS:
HIBERNIA COLLEGE IRUPA PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Robbie Henshaw (Connacht/Ireland)
Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland)
Jonathon Sexton (Racing Metro 92/Ireland)
NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Jack Conan (Leinster/Ireland Wolfhounds)
Robbie Henshaw (Connacht/Ireland)
Jack McGrath (Leinster/Ireland)
VOLKSWAGEN TRY OF YEAR –
Craig Gilroy (Ulster v Scarlets, GUINNESS PRO12)
Robbie Henshaw (Ireland v England, RBS 6 Nations)
Kieran Marmion (Connacht v Leinster, GUINNESS PRO12)
HIBERNIA COLLEGE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE –
Chris Henry (Ulster/Ireland)
Felix Jones (Munster/Ireland)
Michael Swift (Connacht)
BNY MELLON IRUPA HALL OF FAME –
Recipient to be announced on Tuesday, May 5
POWERSCOURT HOTEL MOMENT OF THE YEAR –
Voted by the public on Twitter @PowerscourtHtl #PHMoment15 – the Rugby Moment of the Year will be unveiled at the Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 13
BNY MELLON WOMEN’S SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
The recipient to be announced at the Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 13
ZURICH CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY –
The award will be presented at the ceremony on Wednesday, May 13
3 UNSUNG HERO –
You can view and vote for the IRUPA 3 Unsung Hero on Twitter @ThreeIrlRugby using the hashtag #3UnsungHero. The winner will be announced at the Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 13
NEWSTALK106FM SUPPORTERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
The Supporters’ Player of the Year, as voted by listeners of Newstalk106-108fm, will be announced at the IRUPA Awards on Wednesday, May 13. Tune into ‘Off the Ball’ from Monday, May 4 to vote