Munster Rugby Academy Player of the Season 2005-2006, Ross Noonan, pictured with his parents Gerry and Helen at the Silver Springs Moran Hotel after receiving the John McCarthy Award.
Munster Rugby Academy player Ger Hurley from Midleton congratulates fellow player Ross Noonan
From left, Noel McCarthy, Dr. Paul McCarthy and Stefan Hawlin
Up and coming rugby star Ross Noonan was presented with the John McCarthy Award as Munster Rugby Academy Player of the Season 2005/6 on Tuesday 8th August at a celebratory dinner at Moran s Silver Springs Hotel in Cork. It s the second year that the Award has been presented and recognises exceptional commitment and dedication within the Munster Rugby Academy. Ross was presented with the Award by Dr. Paul McCarthy, on behalf of the McCarthy family who established the Award in memory of the late Count Dr. John McCarthy.
A towering back row forward, 21 year old Ross is no stranger to representative action, having played Munster Schools in 2002 and 2003, played Irish Schools in 2003 on the Grand Slam winning team. Featuring with Munster U21 s in 2004 and 2005, he made a big impression on the national stage with his involvement with the Ireland U21 s in the Six Nations campaign last season and the 2006 U21 World Cup in France. It was Ross second year with the Irish U21 team, having featured in the U21 World Championship in Argentina in 2005. He represented Ireland on the Under 19 team in the World Championships in South Africa in 2004. He was a member of UCC s U20 squad in 2004/5 that won the All Ireland U20 competition and played with UCC Seniors last season in the All Ireland League. Ross will play with Cork Constitution for the coming season having recently transferred.
From Douglas in Cork, Ross started his playing career underage with Dolphin RFC, and played schools rugby with Christian Brothers College, captaining the victorious Bowen Shield and Munster Senior Cup squads in 2001 and 2003 respectively.
Ross has been a Level Two member of the Munster Rugby Academy since its inception in August 2004. The Munster Rugby Academy has established itself as the premier training ground for young rugby athletes in the province, nurturing such talents as Ross Noonan and aiding his development. With such focus and determination coupled with dynamic talent, Ross Noonan encapsulates the spirit of the John McCarthy Award.
Munster Rugby Academy Manager Hamish Adams is full of praise for his charge: Ross has shown an exceptional commitment, drive and tenacity on and off the pitch. He is currently completing a Business Studies Degree at UCC and at the same time maximizing his rugby potential through an extensive programme with the Munster Academy. Ross is a worthy recipient of such an auspicious award.
The Award, introduced on behalf of the late Count Dr John McCarthy by his family, is a significant honour, given that John McCarthy was an exceptional sporting and academic character amongst his peers. He was born in Midleton in 1906, educated at the Christian Brothers Midleton, Castleknock College Dublin and studied medicine at UCC where he qualified in 1931. Described as a brilliant rugby player he played with UCC and Munster, he was also the Cork County 100 yard and 220 yard champion. After qualifying as a Doctor he went to England where he continued his rugby career with London-Irish and Middlesex. In 1960 he was honoured by being made a Fellow of the British Medical Association. In 1973 he was invested as a Knight of Malta for his many years of voluntary work in Lourdes. The Pope also honoured John McCarthy on several occasions, awarding him a Knighthood of the Order of St Gregory in 1960 and elevating him to the honour of a Papal Count in 1972.
Rugby was a passion for Dr. McCarthy, and he instilled his life long love of the sport and in particular of Munster Rugby in all of his family. In keeping with the excellence and character achieved by the late John McCarthy in his lifetime, the recipient of the annual award is bestowed with a great honour. Munster s Tomas O Leary was the inaugural winner of the John McCarthy Award last year, and has since established himself in the Munster Senior squad and has featured on the Ireland A team in the Churchill Cup earlier this year.
Currently there are 20 Academy Level 2 players are involved in the Academy. The aim of the Academy is to provide players with the skills, discipline, knowledge and attitude needed to succeed at Celtic league and Heineken Cup level, and the National team. The Academy also provides support and guidance to young players to achieve the qualifications and experience necessary for life beyond professional rugby. Over the last number of years the National Academy programme has helped produce some of the top players in the county, including Ronan O Gara, Peter Stringer, Frankie Sheahan, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Marcus Horan and Anthony Foley to name but a few.
ROSS NOONAN FACTFILE
Name: Ross Noonan
Position: Back Row
Date of Birth: 14/02/85
Height: 190cm/6 2
Munster Rugby Academy: Level 2 Member since August 2004