Dan Goggin, Munster's Young POTY
Limerick Dan Goggin, Craig Casey and UL Bohemians were the Limerick winners last night at the annual Munster Rugby awards.
Goggin, a product of UL Bohemians underage and now of Young Munster collected his young player of the year award on the night that UL Bohemians also claimed 'Mini section of the year' award.
While Shannon RFC were celebrating too, as Craig Casey, star of Ireland's U20 Grand Slam win, was named Academy player of the year.
Ciara Griffin, originally from Tralee and now of UL Bohemians, was named Women's player of the year. The main award of the night saw Peter O'Mahony take home the Player of the year award, beating off competition from Joey Carbery and Tadhg Beirne.
O'Mahony won Munster Rugby Player of the Year for the first time to add to the Young Player of the Year award he collected in 2012. O'Mahony has made 16 starts so far this season and was instrumental in the province’s run to the Champions Cup semi-final and the Final Series of the Guinness PRO14.
Leading from the front, the flanker has been outstanding in the lineout and exceptional at the breakdown. He made 88 tackles and missed just three in this season's Champions Cup, averaging 11 per game.
On the international front, O’Mahony was Man of the Match in Ireland’s momentous victory over the All Blacks in November. He played every single minute of the 2019 Six Nations campaign, winning Man of the Match award in the victories over Scotland and Italy.
He has also been nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year award.
Young Player of the Year - Dan Goggin
A graduate of the Greencore Munster Academy, Goggin is enjoying a superb campaign with 18 appearances in red, including 13 starts to date, and an impressive European starting debut against Exeter Chiefs in Round 1 of the Champions Cup.
The 24-year-old has also scored five tries, with a brace against Connacht and Ulster. Combining his speed and physicality, the Limerick native has played a key role in Munster’s midfield this season.
John McCarthy Award for Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Player of the Year - Craig Casey
Craig Casey has enjoyed a fine second season in the Academy with the scrum-half vice-captain for the Ireland U20s side that secured the Grand Slam for the first time since 2007. The former Ardscoil Rís student has also made his mark for Shannon RFC in the All Ireland League this season.
His attitude and character to get him through a 16-month injury period and come out the other side to produce such impressive performances make him The John McCarthy Greencore Academy player of the year 2019.
Women's Player of the Year - Ciara Griffin
Hailing from Tralee, Co Kerry, and working as a primary school teacher in Limerick, Ciara began playing underage rugby with Castleisland RFC and then moved to Tralee RFC at senior level. Ciara is playing with UL Bohemian RFC since the start of the 2016/17 season and helped the Limerick side lift the Women’s AIL.
She made her Munster senior debut in 2012 and has since been an integral part in a number of Munster successes at interprovincial level.
Having made her debut for Ireland in the Six Nations in 2016 against Wales, this season saw the back-row captain the national side throughout the championship. She has been described by Ireland Head Coach Adam Giggs as a ‘natural leader’ and at just 25 is sure to be a key part of the Munster and Ireland set-ups for a number of years and through to the next Women’s Rugby World Cup and beyond.
Hall of Fame - Donal Lenihan
As a second row, Donal made over 50 appearances for Munster. At club level he won four Munster Senior Cup titles during the 80s – one with UCC and three with Cork Constitution. He amassed 52 Ireland caps in an international career that spanned from 1981 to 1992, winning two Triple Crowns and three 5 Nations Championships. He captained the national team on 17 occasions.
He toured with the British & Irish Lions and went onto become Team Manager for the Lions on the 2001 Lions tour to Australia. He was also Ireland Team Manager from 1998-2000. Donal was the Chairman of the Munster Rugby Academy, helping to steer the early careers of players such as Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony and Keith Earls.
He is the current Deputy President of Cork Constitution FC. As a player, team manager, administrator and respected sports broadcaster, Donal’s passion for rugby at all levels of the game has been a lifelong love affair, and he is an exceptional inductee to the Munster Rugby Hall of Fame.
Referee of the Year - Rob O'Sullivan
Rob joined the MAR in 2012 and quickly worked his way through the age grade and junior ranks to earn promotion to the IRFU panel in 2015. He has refereed in all five divisions of the All Ireland League, has been awarded the Munster Senior Cup Final this season between Cork Con and Garryowen.
Rob has been the man in the middle in the British & Irish Cup and Celtic Cup, as well as being an Assistant Referee at PRO14 and EPCR levels.
Senior Club of the Year - Highfield RFC
Highfield’s success this year is the culmination of a number of developments within the club over the past few seasons. One of the traditional underage powerhouses in Munster, their vibrant mini and age grade sections has seen them steadily building. 2019 saw the men from Woodleigh Park storm to the Division 2A title of the All Ireland League.
Their Junior team are also in the final of the Bank of Ireland Munster Junior Cup which indicates that the building blocks are in place to make an assault at Division 1B level next season.
Junior Club of the Year - Mallow RFC
Founded in 1883, Mallow RFC is one of Munster’s oldest clubs and this season saw the club win The Liam Fitzgerald Cup. Going through the entire league campaign unbeaten – winning 13 out of 13 games and collecting 10 winning bonus points on the way, reaching 62 points out of a possible 65 points, which is a truly remarkable achievement.
With the support of Munster Rugby, a partnership was formed between Mallow RFC and Cope Foundation, leading to the creation of Mallow Barbarians in Feb 2015, a tag rugby team for adults aged 18 to 45 with an intellectual disability.
School of the Year - Christian Brothers College, Cork
This award recognises not just the success of a school in individual competitions but also the excellence of the rugby programme it provides for all its students. Representation of seven players on the U18 Munster Schools team, including the captain Mark Donnelly, and two players on the U19 Munster team, again captained by CBC player Cian Hurley, along with several players representing Ireland, demonstrates the quality of player in the school and the school’s commitment to players making provincial and international ranks.
The crowning moment of the year saw this school win the Munster Senior Cup for a record 30th time.
Club Youth Section of the Year - Cobh Pirates RFC
Cobh Pirates RFC have been consistently competing at the business end of Munster competitions for a number of seasons, the East Cork club are reaping the benefits of a superb player retention strategy. Catering for players from U6 to U18, this season saw them field two U16 sides with the U18s reaching the final of the Bank of Ireland Munster Cup. With a coaching development plan in place to provide structured progression through each age grade, the Club is going from strength to strength.
Club Mini Section of the Year - UL Bohemian RFC
With Mini section membership up to approximately 200 players, UL Bohemians RFC is now thriving at all Mini rugby levels from under 6 to under 12. They were the only club to host a provincial leg of the IRFU Aviva Mini’s Festival for 4 years in a row. The club are actively involved in providing rugby activity in their local primary schools which is contributing to the development of club-school links in the community.