The 69-year-old former full back, who won 54 Irish caps and captained both his country and the British & Irish Lions, was ERC Chairman from 1995 to 1999.
Yesterday in London he was announced as the inaugural winner of a new annual presentation, the Heineken Cup Achievement Award.
The award in recognition of the key role Kiernan played in the early years of the then fledgling tournament was presented to him by ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux.
"Tom did an outstanding job in helping launch the tournament at extremely short notice and then defending and championing the principles and objectives of the Heineken Cup," said Monsieur Lux.
"The Heineken Cup has made enormous strides since 1995 and the groundwork done by Tom in those early seasons has proved to be the perfect and solid foundation for the continuing growth of the tournament."
Kiernan said: "I have to share this honour with the late Vernon Pugh who was responsible for not only instigating the Heineken Cup concept, but also so many other things around the advent of professionalism in rugby in the 1990s.
"The Heineken Cup has grown into the wonderful product we always believe it could become and now everyone looks forward to Heineken Cup matches across Europe."