Inaugural Recipient of the John McCarthy Munster Rugby Academy Award for Excellence
(Photo- Dr. Paul McCarthy with his mother Doreen McCarthy presenting the Award to Tomas O' Leary. Also pictured is Hamish Adams, Munster Rugby Academy Manager)
Tomas O Leary was presented with the magnificent John McCarthy Award for excellence at a dinner in the Morans Silversprings.
The John McCarthy Award for Excellence was presented by Dr Paul McCarthy to the player in the Munster Academy displaying exceptional commitment and dedication to succeed in rugby.
Tomas was recently rewarded with a full senior contract following an outstanding season with his Club Dolphin, Munster Development and the Irish Sevens team.
Hailing from a hurling background, Tomas has excelled since taking up rugby at Christians Brothers Cork earning selection in the Irish Schools and competing in a World Cup final with the Irish Under 21 side in 2004.
Academy Manager, Hamish Adams describes Tomas as a special talent who through hard work and commitment has moulded himself into a professional rugby player .
The Award donated on behalf of the late Dr John McCarthy by his family is a significant honour, given that Dr John McCarthy was an exceptional sporting and academic character amongst his peers.
The late Dr John McCarthy 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 100yard and 220yard 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 and in 1973 he was invested as a Knight of Malta for his many years of voluntary work in Lourdes. Dr McCarthy was also honoured on several occasions by the Pope.
In keeping with the excellence and character achieved by the late Dr John McCarthy in his lifetime, the recipient of the annual award is bestowed with a great honour. It is hoped in years to come that the perpetual trophy will include the names of many respected Munster and Irish players.
Some recent players to graduate from the National Academy programme include, Ronan O Gara, Peter Stringer, Frankie Sheahan, Denis Leamy, David Wallace, Marcus Horan, Anthony Foley to name but a few.