Leinster and Argentina star Felipe Contepomi was crowned the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year at a luncheon at Killiney's Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel this afternoon.

2007 was a very memorable year for Contepomi as, apart from helping Leinster reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals and finish third in the Magners League and qualifying as a doctor, he was to the forefront of Argentina's successful World Cup campaign.

The 30-year-old scored 91 points during the World Cup as he guided the Pumas past both Ireland and France and to an eventual third place finish. He was also nominated for the IRB Player of the Year award.

Today's Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland awards also saw Garryowen, the reigning AIB League Division One champions, honoured as the Club of the Year.

The Tom Rooney award for making an exceptional contribution to the game went to Phil Orr, the former Ireland and Lions prop who was also manager of the Grand Slam-winning Ireland Under-20 squad, which won the Dave Guiney perpetual award as Team of the Year.

The two new members inducted to the Guinness Hall of Fame were hooker Ken Kennedy and free-scoring winger Alan Duggan.

Kennedy made 45 appearances for his country, which at the time of his retirement in 1975 was a world record for a hooker.

He also played with great distinction for the Lions, winning four caps on the 1966 tour to New Zealand and Australia.

A medical student at Queen's University when he made his international debut, Kennedy featured strongly in some magnificent Irish triumphs, none better than the 14-9 success over France at Stade Colombes in 1972. It was Ireland's first victory in Paris in 20 years.

'Dixie; Duggan will go down in Irish rugby history as one of the best finishers in the game. The Lansdowne winger, who debuted for Ireland against New Zealand in 1963, scored 11 tries in his 25 appearances for the men in green.

When you take into account how low scoring the games often were in that era, that is a hugely impressive statistic. Leinster also, of course, benefited from Duggan's finishing ability. He made his final Irish appearance against France in 1972.

Michael Whelan of Guinness and Peter O'Reilly, chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland, jointly presented the awards at today's luncheon in Killiney.


Player of the Year - Felipe Contepomi
Club of the Year - Garryowen
Tom Rooney Award for Exceptional Contribution - Phil Orr
Dave Guiney Award for Team of the Year - Ireland Under-20s
Guinness Hall of Fame - Ken Kennedy and Alan Duggan