Munster's Keith Earls wins prestigious Players’ Player of the Year award

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Munster's Keith Earls wins prestigious Ireland Players’ Player of the Year award

Zurich Irish Players’ Player of the Year award winner Keith Earls

MUNSTER winger Keith Earls has scooped the prestigious Zurich Irish Players’ Player of the Year award for 2018.

Thirty year-old Limerick man Earls was awarded the accolade by his fellow players at an awards ceremony held in Dublin on Wednesday night.

Earls received the accolade after enjoying a superb season both with Munster and Ireland. He was an integral part of Joe Schmidt's Grand Slam winning team and a key cog of a Munster side that reached a Champions Cup semi-final and face rivals Leinster this weekend in a Pro14 semi-final.

Earls succeeds provincial team-mate Conor Murray as Player of the Year.

Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale was named as the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year 2018 after a record breaking season becoming the top try-scorer in a Six Nations campaign

Earls started every game in the 2018 6 Nations, scoring his 27th Test try against Italy. Other standout moments were his crucial catch, when gathering Johnny Sexton’s crossfield kick late on that 41-phase drive in Paris which culminated in Sexton’s winning drop goal.

He has also been in consistently good form for Munster, scoring six tries in 10 games this season. Earls is Ireland’s fourth-highest try-scorer of all time and his 45 in 151 games makes him the second-highest for Munster.

Earls was chosen ahead of last year’s winner Conor Murray, and Leinster’s Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong.

Also at the awards ceremony, Duncan Casey, who departed Munster for Grenoble in recent months, was awarded the Medal for Excellence.