The nominees for this season’s Connacht Rugby Awards have been revealed today, with the awards ceremony to take place at the Salthill Hotel on Saturday week (April 13). The awards recognise the achievements of players, clubs, coaches and referees across a wide range of grades in the province.
In all there are 17 awards to be presented on the night. As always there are a number of awards where Connacht supporters get to have a say, and this year they are the Fans’ Player of the Year and the Try of the Season awards – both of which you can vote on in the coming days.
Out-half Jack Carty, whose stellar form with Connacht earned him his first three Ireland caps recently, has been nominated in three different categories. He is in the running for Players’ Player of the Year along with captain Jarrad Butler and fellow back rower Colby Fainga’a, while Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade join him on the Fans’ Player of the Year list.
Carty faces stiff competition in the Try of the Year category from full-back Tiernan O’Halloran, whose scores against Ulster and Bordeaux-Begles have both been selected. Connemara starlet Colm de Buitléar is in contention for the Academy Player of the Year honour, along with Matthew Burke and Conor Fitzgerald.
Edel McMahon, who returned from injury to play for Ireland against Wales last month, Jill Draper and Orla Dixon are the three nominees for the Women’s Player of the Year award, and McMahon’s international colleague Beibhinn Parsons’ rapid rise at just 17 years of age has been acknowledged with nominations for the Under-18 Women’s Player of the Year and Moment of the Season gongs.
Connacht Rugby are also delighted to announce the recipients of two special awards. The Connacht Unsung Hero award will be presented to Derek Niland, Mark Deegan and Jack Nohily for their sterling work at facilitating the inclusion rugby mornings at Corinthians RFC in Galway city every Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the Lifetime Contribution to Rugby award will be presented to Dr. Anthony Browne for his contribution to rugby in Connacht stretching over 50 years as a player, coach and administrator. The Connacht Rugby Awards is now a sold-out event as tickets were quickly snapped up.
2018/19 CONNACHT RUGBY AWARDS – NOMINATIONS LIST:
Under-18 Men’s Player of the Year
Darragh Murray (Buccaneers/Colaiste Ciarain Athlone)
Oisin McCormack (Ballinasloe/Garbally College)
Donnacha Byrne (Sligo/Summerhill College)
Under-19 Men’s Player of the Year
Diarmuid Kilcommins (Corinthians/Colaiste Ballyclair)
Lucas Culliton (CC Roscrea)
Diarmuid Kilgallon (CC Roscrea)
Under-18 Women’s Player of the Year
Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe/Ard Scoil Mhuire)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Ard Scoil Mhuire)
Lily Brady (Westport/Sacred Heart School)
Moment of the Season
Beibhinn Parsons’ international debut
Mikey Kearney joins the ARCB
CBS Roscommon’s Schools Rugby breakthrough
Unsung Hero Award
Winners: Derek Niland, Mark Deegan and Jack Nohily
Referee of the Year
Coach of the Year
David Newman & JP Leonard (Ballina)
Mike Devine & Kevin Tierney (Garbally College)
Bernard Keaney & Henry O’Toole (Connemara)
Women’s Club Player of the Year
Denise Redmond (Galwegians)
Emma Fabby (Westport)
Julie Lyons (NUIG)
Women’s Player of the Year
Jill Draper (Tullamore)
Edel McMahon (Galwegians)
Orla Dixon (Galwegians)
Junior Player of the Year
Henry O’Toole (Connemara)
Eric Flynn (Corrib)
Brian Diffley (Creggs)
Senior Club Player of the Year
Ryan Feehily (Sligo)
Michael O’Reilly (Corinthians)
Calum Quinn (Ballina)
Club of the Year
Academy Player of the Year
Colm de Buitléar
Try of the Season
Tiernan O’Halloran v Ulster (October 5, 2018)
Jack Carty v Leinster (December 22, 2018)
Tiernan O’Halloran v Bordeaux-Begles (January 19, 2019)
Fans’ Player of the Year
Players’ Player of the Year
Lifetime Contribution to Rugby
Winner: Dr. Anthony Browne