Rob Kearney has been named Player of the Year at the 25th Annual Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Awards. The Leinster and Ireland full-back collected his award at a function in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this evening.
Kearney’s province, Leinster, were awarded the Dave Guiney Team of the Year after claiming the European Cup for the third time in four years.
Leinster cemented their status as the top team in Europe by claiming back-to-back European Cups this season after defeating provincial rivals Ulster 42-12 in Twickenham in May.
Having drawn in the first round away to Montpellier, Leinster went on to defeat all opponents in convincing fashion en route to claiming their third title in four years.
A week after being crowned champions of Europe, they narrowly missed out on doing the double as they agonisingly lost 31-30 to the Ospreys in the Celtic League final in the RDS.
Claire Molloy picked up the Women’s Player of the Year after a fantastic season which included captaining the Ireland Women’s Sevens Team in the European Championships.
St. Mary’s College RFC were voted Club of the Year due to their success in the All-Ireland League this past season, while the Tom Rooney Award went to Kelly Wilson for his exceptional contribution to the game over the years and his continued involvement with Ulster Rugby.
Full-back Paddy Berkery and hooker Ciaran Fitzgerald were inducted into the Guinness Hall of Fame.
Berkery won the first of his 11 Irish caps against Wales in March 1954. He played alongside many players who claimed the Grand Slam and Triple Crowns in the late 40s.
Fitzgerald is a former captain of Ireland and also the British and Irish Lions and he led Ireland to the Triple Crown in 1982 and 1985 as well the Five Nations Championship victory in 1983.
Fitzgerald was appointed Ireland coach in 1990 and held the reigns until November 1992.