The winners of the Energia All-Ireland League Awards were announced on Wednesday night.
Queen’s University captain, David Whitten was the recipient of the AIL Men’s Division 2A Player of the Year Award.
This 2021/22 season, clubs have reported a 15% increase in attendance and the Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A final, on Sunday, May 1 at the Aviva Stadium, more than doubled its crowd record at the venue.
The Men’s Division 1A Player of the Year, Cormac Daly, starred with a hat-trick of tries in Clontarf’s bonus point victory over Dublin University and stunned Garryowen at a wet Dooradoyle, with a try after just 90 seconds.
Daly also won the player-of-the-match honour in the recent Division 1A decider at Irish Rugby HQ.
The Women’s Player of the Year, Aoife Doyle, enjoyed a tremendous season, which included a fantastic brace of tries in Railway Union’s 43-8 bonus point win at Old Belvedere.
Doyle was just 18 when she made her Ireland debut against France in the 2015 Six Nations. She was a member of the Ireland squad in the recent TikTok Women’s Six Nations. These awards were voted for by the head coaches and directors of rugby across the league.
The Moment of the Year was awarded to Terenure College’s Stephen O’Neill for his run down of a Garryowen player. It was a time in the game where Garryowen were on top and could seriously dent Terenure’s challenge for the play-offs.
O’Neill led by captain’s example in winning a key turnover, but unfortunately missed out on the play-offs due to injury.
Clubs from across Ireland were invited to nominate members or volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty and Conall Fitzpatrick from Waterpark RFC was awarded the Community Hero award.
The nominees for this award have provided years of service and have volunteered for the betterment of their club many times, at all levels and over a wide range of tasks on and off the pitch.
Nominations were sought from clubs around the island, with a huge quantity received. Seamus Lowry (Oughterard RFC), Richard Black (City of Armagh RFC), and Martina Fitzpatrick (Tallaght RFC) were also shortlisted.
Clontarf’s Alex and Ivan Soroka, who have strong family links with Ukraine, were awarded the Energia AIL Positive Energy award for their fundraising work on behalf of the Okhmadits Children’s Hospital in Kyiv.
The Energia AIL Awards ceremony, which took place at Old Wesley RFC, also included a 15-minute panel discussion with Ireland coaches Niamh Briggs, Richie Murphy, and John Fogarty.
The panellists discussed the 2021/22 Energia AIL season while reflecting on the efforts of the Under-20 and Women’s teams in this year’s Six Nations Championships.
Each panellist also touched upon their respective individual experiences playing in the All-Ireland League.
Commenting on the Energia AIL Awards, Des Kavanagh, President of the IRFU Rugby Committee, said: “On behalf of the IRFU, I would like to extend a mighty congratulations to the winner of each award, and my thanks to all who attended this evening and donated to the Irish Heart Foundation.
“Furthermore, my thanks to Energia for their support and promotion of the Energia All-Ireland League as title sponsor.
“We look forward to continuing to work together over the coming years, and truly appreciate their efforts in delivering the Energia AIL Awards after a two-year Covid hiatus.”
This year’s awards were presented by The Club Scene Podcast host, Daragh Frawley, and celebrated the action both on and off the pitch and highlighted some of the real skill, talent, and incredible rugby we have seen from the players this season.
Women’s Division Player Of The Year: Aoife Doyle (Railway Union)
Men’s Division 1A Player Of The Year: Cormac Daly (Clontarf)
Men’s Division 1B Player Of The Year: JJ O’Dea (Old Wesley)
Men’s Division 2A Player Of The Year: David Whitten (Queen’s University)
Men’s Division 2B Player Of The Year: Cathal Forde (Galway Corinthians)
Men’s Division 2C Player Of The Year: Niall Parker (Enniscorthy)
Energia AIL Coach of the Year Awards
Energia Men’s AIL Coach of the Year: Andy Wood (Clontarf)
Energia Women’s AIL Coach of the Year: Ben Martin (Blackrock College)
Energia Moment of the Season
Energia AIL Moment of the Season: Stephen O’Neill (Terenure College)
Energia Community Hero Award
Energia Community Hero Award: Conall Fitzpatrick (Waterpark)
Energia AIL Positive Energy Award
Energia AIL Positive Energy Award: Alex and Ivan Soroka (Clontarf)
Energia AIL Club Scene Award
Club Scene Award – Terenure College RFC