Earls Voted Players’ Player Of The Year At Irish Rugby Awards
16th May 2018 By The Editor
Munster and Ireland star Keith Earls has been awarded Players’ Player of the Year at the Irish Rugby Awards ceremony.
Earls, who was voted Munster Rugby Player of the Year last month, enjoyed a stellar season for both club and country and has been widely praised by his peers for his dedication and hard work throughout his career. He was outstanding as Ireland won their third Grand Slam in March, and he was also instrumental for Munster as they progressed to the latter stages of both the Champions Cup and PRO14. Earls (30), wins the award ahead of last year’s winner Conor Murray, and Leinster’s Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong.
It is the fourth year in succession that a Munster player has picked up the award with Murray, CJ Stander and Paul O’Connell also honoured in recent seasons.
On receiving his award, Earls said: “It has been a great season with many special memories for me. For all the successes, there were some challenges along the way too and so it means a lot to get the recognition of my fellow players across the country. I’ve given it my all, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my teammates, friends and of course my family.”
Duncan Casey, who departed Munster for Grenoble in recent months, was awarded the Medal for Excellence, which rewards on-field effort combined with off-field commitment to the game.
Meanwhile, Jacob Stockdale was named as the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year. The Ulster winger, who is now the record try-scorer in a Six Nations campaign, first came to prominence in an Ireland jersey following several try-scoring performances in the November internationals.
The Women’s XVs Player of the Year, as voted by members of the Ireland squad, was presented to Claire Molloy for several outstanding performances throughout the season. Meanwhile, Irish 7s captain Lucy Mulhall claimed the Rugby Players Ireland IRFU Women’s 7s Player of the Year, in a week where Ireland claimed a best-ever finish at the Canada 7s in Langford.
The Supporters’ Player of the Year, as voted by the public, was presented to Connacht’s Bundee Aki. Aki, who was an integral part of Connacht’s historic PRO12 win in 2016, had another outstanding season putting in top class performances for both Connacht and Ireland.
Joining Ireland’s heroes in the Hall of Fame was former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll. The Contribution to Irish Society was presented to Jack McGrath in recognition of his work in his community.
While there were several moments throughout the season that will always be remembered fondly, members of the public determined that Ireland’s victory over England was the Rugby Moment of the Year via Twitter.
Simon Keogh, CEO of Rugby Players Ireland commented: “Winning an Irish Rugby Award is one of the highest honours a player can receive in the game here in Ireland. There have been many great achievements by Irish players this year, but to be acknowledged by your team-mates and opponents in this manner shows just how much of an impact a player has made throughout the season. I am thrilled for Keith who has had a fantastic season, and many before that.”