Mack Hansen and Catherine Martin were the big winners at the annual Connacht Rugby Awards Ball as they were crowned the respective Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year for 2021/22.
The accolade is the latest in a string of achievements for Hansen who has enjoyed a whirlwind first season with Connacht.
The back-three ace has scored seven tries in 14 appearances for the province, and also started four of Ireland’s five Guinness Six Nations games, scoring a famous try against France and winning the Triple Crown.
His performances meant he was duly voted the Men’s Player of the Year by his Connacht team-mates, with Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver also nominated for the award.
The Women’s Player of the Year award went to centre Martin after her excellent appearances for Connacht in this season’s Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.
Meanwhile, Prendergast’s breakthrough season was deservedly acknowledged by the supporters, with the flanker named the Fans’ Player of the Year after a week of public voting on connachtrugby.ie.
Matthew Devine capped a brilliant season with the scrum half named the Academy Player of the Year, largely thanks to his terrific form for the Ireland Under-20s during their Grand Slam-winning Six Nations run.
There were also emotional scenes at the Clayton Hotel when the late, great Mick Grealish was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Contribution to Connacht Rugby award. His wife Maureen and family received the accolade on his behalf.
2021/22 CONNACHT RUGBY AWARDS – LIST OF WINNERS & NOMINEES:
Under-18 Men’s Player of the Year – sponsored by Sound to Light
Winner: Max Flynn – Galway Corinthians RFC/CC Roscrea
Hugh Gavin – Galwegians RFC/The Jes
Ryan Roche – Galwegians RFC/St. Paul’s Oughterard
Under-18 Women’s Player of the Year – sponsored by RDJ
Winner: Molly Boote – Connemara RFC/Clifden Community College
Éabha Nic Dhonnacha – Galway Corinthians RFC/Chuimsitheach na Chiaráin, An Cheathru Rua
Karly Tierney – Tuam/Oughterard RFC/Salerno Salthill
Under-19 Men’s Player of the Year – sponsored by Benchmark Recruitment
Winner: Harry West – Ballina RFC/The King’s Hospital
John Devine – Ballinasloe RFC/Garbally College
Adam Hunter – Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar School
Academy Player of the Year – sponsored by Total Health
Winner: Matthew Devine
Referee of the Year – sponsored by LK Shields
Winner: Andrew Fogarty
Coach of the Year – sponsored by Deloitte
Winner: Charlie Couper – Buccaneers RFC
Martin Cummins – Dunmore RFC
Henry O’Toole – Connemara RFC
Women’s Club Player of the Year – sponsored by CityLink
Winner: Aoife Williams – Galwegians RFC
Noreen Coyne – Westport RFC
Hazel Kilduff – Buccaneers RFC
Men’s Junior Club Player of the Year – sponsored by Laya
Winner: Brian Diffley – Creggs RFC
Steven Conroy – Ballinrobe RFC
Ian Staunton – Connemara RFC
Men’s Senior Club Player of the Year – sponsored by Aerogen
Winner: Calum Quinn – Ballina RFC
Shane Layden – Buccaneers RFC
Mark McDermott – Galway Corinthians RFC
Club of the Year – sponsored by Bank of Ireland
Winner: Creggs RFC
Fans’ Player of the Year – sponsored by Intersport Elverys
Winner: Cian Prendergast
Lifetime Contribution to Connacht Rugby – sponsored by Heineken
Mick Grealish RIP
Women’s Player of the Year – sponsored by Genesys
Winner: Catherine Martin
Men’s Player of the Year – sponsored by Genesys
Winner: Mack Hansen