The Leinster Rugby Awards Ball took place yesterday evening in the InterContinental Dublin hotel as players, both past and present, celebrated the 2018/19 season to date and said a fond farewell to a number of players who have contributed much to the success of Leinster over the years.
Leinster Rugby President Lorcan Balfe opened proceedings and from there over 500 guests were in the company of the Master of Ceremonies, Darragh Maloney from RTE Sport.
James Ryan and Max Deegan were the big winners on the night as they won the Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year and the Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year awards respectively, while Ireland Women’s star Sene Naoupu, St. Michael’s College and Naas RFC were also notable winners.
It has been quite the year for second row Ryan, backing up last year’s Young Player of the Year award with the senior gong only twelve months later. Former St. Mary’s College, Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions out-half Paul Dean was the latest inductee into the Guinness Leinster Rugby Hall of Fame.
Dean, who is the current Ireland team manager, won 32 caps for Ireland but was also hugely influential off the field with Leinster as an assistant coach to the first ever professional team to play in the Heineken Cup in the mid-1990s and, in more recent times, as a key member of the Professional Game Board.
In addition, there was time to look back on the careers and the contributions of players who are departing Leinster beyond this season. Sean O’Brien, Jack McGrath, Noel Reid, Mick Kearney, Nick McCarthy, Ian Nagle and Tom Daly were all celebrated for all they had achieved with the province over the years.
With Nagle and Daly on loan at Ulster and Connacht respectively and unable to attend the awards night, the other five players were presented with their official Leinster Rugby caps by Balfe.
2018/19 LEINSTER RUGBY AWARDS – WINNERS’ LIST:
Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year
Nominees: Max Deegan, Jordan Larmour, James Ryan, Ciaran Frawley
Winner: Max Deegan
Deep River Rock School of the Year
Winner: St. Michael’s College, accepted by Tim Kelleher
Beauchamps Contribution to Leinster Rugby award
Winner: Larry Halpin, Terenure College
CityJet Senior Club of the Year
Winner: Naas RFC accepted by President Phil Kiely
Life Style Sports Supporters’ Player of the Year
Nominees: Sean Cronin, James Lowe, Rory O’Loughlin, Rhys Ruddock
Winner: Sean Cronin
Energia Women’s Rugby award
Winner: Sene Naoupu (accepted by her husband George in her absence)
Guinness Hall of Fame
Winner: Paul Dean
Irish Independent Development School award
Winner: Patrician Secondary School Newbridge, accepted by Andrew Burke and Ailleen Langton
BearingPoint Tackle of the Year
Winner: Luke McGrath
Bank of Ireland Junior Club of the Year
Winner: Suttonians RFC, accepted by President John Hughes
Irish Independent Try of the Year
Winner: Dave Kearney (try against Toulouse, round 5, Heineken Champions Cup)
Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year
Nominees: James Ryan, Noel Reid, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin
Winner: James Ryan