CORK Constitution collected three awards at the the first virtual Energia All Ireland League Rugby awards.
While the Leeside rugby powerhouse were frustrated by the decision to cancel the 2019/20 season when they were in a strong position to secure silverware, they at least have the consolation of three individual prizes.
Brian Hayes was named as the AIL Player of the Year, Coach of the Year went to Brian Hickey and Jack Crowley, who was a standout performer for Ireland in the U20 Six Nations too, was picked as the AIL Division 1A Rising Star.
Alongside the rugby awards, fans who tuned into the online event were treated to a full line up of entertainment with host and Irish comedian Mario Rosenstock sharing his impersonations of Michael D Higgins, Ronan O’Gara and Rory Best.
There were also guest appearances from Irish rugby players Peter O’Mahony, Keith Earls, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour and Irish Rugby Coaches Andy Farrell, Adam Griggs, Richie Murphy and John Fogarty.
The Men’s Player of the Year, Brian Hayes, finished the season as the joint-top try scorer in Division 1A this season and was part of a Cork Con side that were the only team across the five men’s divisions to go through the season undefeated.
The Women’s Player of the Year, Hannah O'Connor enjoyed a tremendous season for Blackrock College, winning her first cap for Ireland and kicking the most penalties of any player in the Women’s AIL. These awards, along with Rising Stars for each division, were voted for by the Head Coaches and Directors of Rugby across the league.
In terms of provincial breakdown of wins, Munster were all celebrations, taking out seven of the 14 awards including the Energia AIL Men’s Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Try of the Year and two Men’s Division Rising Star Awards.
The Try of the Year Awards were shortlisted and voted for by the fans to select their top try of the year. The Men’s Try of the Year votes came down to the wire with 568 votes for Kelvin Brown from Shannon RFC, closely followed by Conor O’Brien from Nenagh Ormond RFC with 528 votes.
The Women’s Try of the year winner received even more public votes than the Men’s winner with a whopping 599 votes for Alana McInerney from UL Bohemian followed by Stephanie Nunan from UL Bohemian RFC with 402 votes.
This year’s new and prestigious Positive Energy Award was awarded to two clubs, Railway Union RFC & Suttonians RFC from Dublin. The clubs embraced the positive energy mentality and set local club rivalries aside to collaborate and aim to stage the highest ever paid attendance at an Energia Women’s All-Ireland League match.