RUGBY: Joe Schmidt presents annual Ulster Bank League awards

From left to right, Scott Deasy, Lansdowne, Division 1A Top Points Scorer, Stephen Ferris, Ulster Bank Ambassador, and Mick McGrath, Clontarf, Division 1A Top Try Scorer
From left to right, Scott Deasy, Lansdowne, Division 1A Top Points Scorer, Stephen Ferris, Ulster Bank Ambassador, and Mick McGrath, Clontarf, Division 1A Top Try Scorer

To cap off another fantastic year in the Ulster Bank League, a cross section of Irish club rugby gathered in Dublin last night for the fourth annual ‘Ulster Bank League Awards’ in the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland Head Coach, Joe Schmidt, was on hand to present the awards across all divisions of the Ulster Bank League and was joined by former Ireland, Lions and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris.

Clontarf bagged three of the 14 awards available on the night with Joey Carbery, a talented New Zealander, named as the ‘Division 1A Rising Star of the Year’. Joey has had a season to remember for the Bulls, which included a man of the match performance in Clontarf’s win over Cork Con in the Ulster Bank League final. Tarf’s impressive year has finished on a high as their Head Coach, Andy Wood, who was previously nominated in this category, claimed ‘Division 1A Head Coach of the Year’ while Mick McGrath came top of the leader board to become ‘Division 1A Top Try Scorer’, something he also achieved in 2013 and 2014.

Ulster winners included Ballynahinch RFC player Aaron Cairn who picked up the Ulster Bank Ulster Player of the Year whilst Banbridge PRO duo Marc Eadie and Robin McGloughlin won the UIster Bank Club PRO of the Year.

Other local names who featured on the shortlist were Ballymena’s Rodger McBurney and David Whann, Callum Lecky from Belfast Harlequins and City of Derry players David Houston and Andrew Semple.

Conor Kindregan from Cork Con beat McGrath and Ger Slattery to be named ‘Division 1A Player of the Year’ and Scott Deasy of Lansdowne finished the season with the most points to become ‘Division 1A Top Points Scorer’.

The Munster contingent was strong across the remaining divisions with Charlie O’Regan of UCC winning ‘Division 2A Player of the Year’, Paddy O’Toole of Highfield winning the ‘Division 2B Player of the Year Award’ and Brendan Guilfoyle of Old Crescent winning ‘Division 2C Player of the Year’.

Speaking at the Awards, Maeve McMahon, Director of Customer Experience and Products, Ulster Bank said: “This is one of the highlights of the year for us, bringing together some of Ireland’s most talented club rugby players and rewarding them for their dedication and commitment to the game.

“The Ulster Bank League is brimming with talent and you can see that throughout the country every weekend as these players take to the pitch. Ulster Bank is proud to sponsor club rugby in Ireland and as we remain title sponsors to the All-Ireland League until 2018 as well as Official Community Rugby Partner to the IRFU we look forward to continuing our support of grassroots rugby.”

The awards and recipients were:

Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1A: Conor Kindregan, Cork Con RFC, Cork

Ulster Bank Top Try Scorer – Division 1A: Mick McGrath, Clontarf RFC, Dublin

Ulster Bank Top Points Scorer – Division 1A: Scott Deasy, Lansdowne RFC, Dublin

Ulster Bank Young player of the Year Award – Division 1A: Joey Carbery, Clontarf RFC, Dublin

Ulster Bank Coach of the Year – Division 1A: Andy Woods, Clontarf RFC, Dublin

Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1B: Angus Lloyd, Trinity RFC, Dublin

Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2A: Charlie O’Regan, UCC RFC, Cork

Ulster Player of the Year – Division 2B: Paddy O’Toole, Highfield RFC, Cork

Ulster Player of the Year – Division 2C: Brendan Guilfoyle, Old Cresent RFC, Limerick

Ulster Bank Club PRO (Public Relations Officer) of the Year: Robin McGloughlin & Marc Eadie, Banbridge RFC, Down

Ulster Bank Provincial Player of the Year – voted by the public through Ulster Bank Rugby Social Media:

Provincial winners of the year, as voted for by the public:

Connacht Player of the Year: Stephen Kerins, Sligo RFC

Leinster Player of the Year: Brian McKeever, Navan RFC

Munster Player of the Year: Sean Duggan, Young Munster RFC

Ulster Player of the Year: Aaron Cairns, Ballynahinch RFC