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Henshaw And Parsons Named Guinness Rugby Writers’ Players Of The Year

Henshaw And Parsons Named Guinness Rugby Writers’ Players Of The Year

Ballinasloe native Béibhinn Parsons is pictured with her Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Women's Player of the Year award ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Robbie Henshaw has been named Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Player of The Year after countless stand-out performances for Leinster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions.

Henshaw was a key player on the Lions tour of South Africa, starting all three Tests against the Springboks over the summer, and was a consistent contributor to the successes of both Leinster and Irish Rugby over the season.

Béibhinn Parsons was awarded the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Women’s Player of the Year for the second year running.

This incredible achievement for the Connacht and Ireland flyer comes off the back of some immense performances during the 2020/21 season.

Parsons once again has proved herself to be one of stars of the Ireland Women’s squad, capable of scoring amazing tries and digging deep when needed.

Terry Kennedy (pictured below) is the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Sevens Player of the Year. Kennedy proved indispensable for the Sevens team during their qualification bid for Tokyo 2020, sharing in the bulk of the tries on day 1 of the Monaco-based repechage.

Although there was disappointment in Tokyo, the Dubliner was the stand-out performer for Ireland throughout and is no doubt set for another impressive year ahead.

Leinster were named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Dave Guiney Team of the Year for the second year in a row, in recognition of their impressive season which culminated in them being crowned the Guinness PRO14 champions for the fourth consecutive season.

Also recognised today were Railway Union RFC, the winners of the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Club of the Year for 2021 in recognition of their development and promotion of women’s rugby.

Based in Sandymount, Dublin, Railway Union were a driving force behind Leinster Rugby’s historic vote in favour of amending their bylaws to confer the same status on Women’s All-Ireland League teams as that conferred to men’s sides in the AIL.

Claire Molloy and Simon Geoghegan were last month inducted into the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame, while Billy Holland received the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Tom Rooney award for the 2020/21 season.

Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships for Diageo Ireland, said:

Guinness is thrilled to once again recognise the incredible achievements & contributions to Irish Rugby during the 2020/21 season.

“I speak for all at Guinness when I say that these players made some very challenging months much easier with their performances each and every week.

“While we cannot celebrate in person as we would like, we offer our warmest congratulations to all our award recipients today, in particular, I would like to congratulate Robbie Henshaw and Beibhinn Parsons, on their incredible personal achievements during the season.

“Both of these players were incredible to watch and we cannot wait to see what 2022 has in store for both of them.”

Sinead Kissane, Chairperson of the Rugby Writers of Ireland, added;

I would like to extend my congratulations to our award winners who have been voted for by members of the Rugby Writers of Ireland.

“It is important to recognise the talent and dedication of those who make huge contributions to Irish rugby. I would also like to thank Guinness for their continued sponsorship and support of these awards.”

Henshaw was thrilled to receive the award, saying: “It is a privilege to receive the Men’s Player of the Year Award from the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland and to follow in the footsteps of many great players who have won it in the past.

The 2020/21 season was a great and, for me personally, it was probably one of the my best seasons for Leinster and Ireland.

“It was nice to get a good run of games together and to top it all off, being selected for the Lions at the end of the season was brilliant.

“I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment and I’m looking forward to what 2022 holds for both Leinster and Ireland.”

Parsons was also delighted with her award success, admitting: “To win this award for a second time is truly incredible so I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland for this recognition.

To be able to represent my country and province and receive an award for doing something I love is an absolute honour.

“As a team, we are determined to hit the ground running in 2022 and we’ll continue to put everything into our rugby to get where we want to be.”

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen accepted the award on behalf of the team, stating: “Thank you to the Rugby Writers of Ireland and to Guinness for this award.

“I’m honoured to be accepting it for the second year running on behalf of the wider Leinster Rugby organisation, the staff and coaches and the players who have represented the team throughout the Guinness PRO14 and Champions Cup during the 2020/21 season.

As a group, we understand the privilege we are afforded to be able to represent our province and continue to work and represent the 12 counties as best we can.

“We are working harder than ever to make sure the fans are excited and proud to support Leinster and look forward to welcoming 5,000 of them to the RDS Arena on Sunday.

“We’re very grateful for their continued support as well as the support of Guinness and the Rugby Writers of Ireland.”