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Ulster Bank League Award Winners Take Centre Stage At Aviva Stadium

Ulster Bank League Award Winners Take Centre Stage At Aviva Stadium

The Aviva Stadium played host to the fifth annual Ulster Bank League Awards last night, celebrating the best in Irish club rugby across all five divisions.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was in attendance to present the winners with their awards with all four provinces represented in the 15 categories.
Cork Constitution topped off an amazing season following their recent Division 1A and Bateman Cup final victories by taking home four awards, with influential out half Tomas Quinlan receiving the coveted Division 1A Rising Star of the Year award and Top Point Scorer honour for his outstanding 200-point tally in the league this season.

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The Temple Hill club were also celebrating after captain Niall Kenneally picked up the Division 1A Player of the Year award and head coach Brian Hickey was named as Division 1A Coach of the Year. It was almost a clean sweep for the Cork side, however Young Munster prop Colm Skehan pipped Con’s three nominees to the Ulster Bank Provincial Player of the Year award for Munster.

In Leinster, Lansdowne winger Daniel McEvoy’s 11-try season saw him confirmed as the Top Try Scorer in Division 1A, while his back-three colleague Eamonn Mills was voted the Ulster Bank Provincial Player of the Year for Leinster. Jack Keating of Greystones, who ran in 19 tries during their promotion-winning run, was named the Division 2B Player of the Year.

Sligo prop Kuba Wojtkowicz left the Aviva Stadium celebrating a double win as he picked up the Ulster Bank Provincial Player of the Year for Connacht title along with the Division 2C Player of the Year award, while Buccaneers’ prolific winger Jordan Conroy, who touched down 18 times in the league, took top prize as the Division 1B Player of the Year.

Joe Dunleavy from City of Derry was the fans’ choice as he was voted the Ulster Bank Provincial Player of the Year for Ulster. In Division 2A, the Player of the Year gong was awarded to Banbridge’s Stephen Irvine. Armagh were rewarded for their work off the field with Ken Redpath named the Ulster Bank PRO of the Year.

This year’s awards saw a new category introduced, as each club could nominate someone for Club Volunteer of the Year, an award which was presented to Mick Dempsey of Naas RFC for his tireless work off the field and willingness to help with any task from lining pitches and cleaning dressing rooms to cooking for the team on training nights and his social committee work. As a former club director of rugby, Mick oversaw player and coach development at Naas with the club’s first XV climbing to Division 1B during his tenure.

Speaking at the Ulster Bank League Awards, Maeve McMahon, Director of Customer Experience and Products with Ulster Bank, said: “Ulster Bank is extremely proud to support grassroots rugby in Ireland. We understand the commitment and dedication that players, coaches and volunteers give to make their club the best it can be.

“All the nominees tonight are testament to the outstanding talent which has been displayed on countless occasions in clubs across the country throughout the season. Our partnership with the IRFU for the past seven years has been extremely successful and we look forward to continuing our work together into next season.”

IRFU President Stephen Hilditch commented: “The Ulster Bank League allows clubs to showcase their talent, their communities and the values rugby represents. These awards are a welcome recognition of the dedication and commitment of not just the players but the volunteers in our clubs that represent the bedrock of our game.

“On behalf of the IRFU, I would like to congratulate the individual winners and their clubs and express our gratitude to Ulster Bank for their continuing support of our national club competition.”

1. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1A: Niall Kenneally (Cork Constitution)
2. Ulster Bank Top Try Scorer – Division 1A: Daniel McEvoy (Lansdowne)
3. Ulster Bank Top Points Scorer – Division 1A: Tomas Quinlan (Cork Constitution) 
4. Ulster Bank Rising Star of the Year – Division 1A: Tomas Quinlan (Cork Constitution)
5. Ulster Bank Coach of the Year – Division 1A: Brian Hickey (Cork Constitution)
6. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1B: Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
7. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2A: Stephen Irvine (Banbridge)
8. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2B: Jack Keating (Greystones)
9. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2C: Kuba Wojtkowicz (Sligo)
10. Ulster Bank Club Public Relations Officer of the Year: Ken Redpath (City of Armagh)
11. Ulster Bank Club Volunteer of the Year: Mick Dempsey (Naas)
12. Ulster Bank Provincial Players of the Year – voted by the public through Ulster Bank Rugby social media:
– Connacht Player of the Year: Kuba Wojtkowicz (Sligo)
– Leinster Player of the Year: Eamonn Mills (Lansdowne)
– Munster Player of the Year: Colm Skehan (Young Munster)
– Ulster Player of the Year: Joe Dunleavy (City of Derry)

For more information on the Ulster Bank League Awards, go to www.facebook.com/ulsterbankrugby or Ulster Bank Rugby on Twitter.