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Local double success at prestigious energia All-Ireland League rugby awards

THERE were two local successes at the Energia All-Ireland League awards announced at Bective Rangers FC in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

The awards follow a stellar season that culminated in the staging of the Energia AIL men’s and women’s finals at the Aviva Stadium..

Fiona Hayes, from UL Bohemian, scooped the prize Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Coach of the Year 2023/24 on the back of the Red, Red Robins League and Cup double-winning season in her first campaign back with the Annacotty-based club.

UL-Bohemian were crowned Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division champions after scoring a thrilling 48-38 win over Railway Union at the Aviva Stadium last month.

Limerick native Fiona Hayes finished as Head Coach of Ballincollig at the end of December 2022 after overseeing their first two campaigns in the Energia All-Ireland League.

The highly regarded Hayes is in her second time at the helm of the Red Robins – she was appointed ahead of the shortened 2019/20 season before the AIL was suspended in 2020/21 due to COVID-19.

As part of the Energia All-Ireland League awards, clubs from across Ireland were invited to nominate members or volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty and Tadhg Crowe, from Shannon RFC, received the Community Hero Award.

The nominees for this award have worked for many years and have volunteered many times for the betterment of their club, at all levels and in a wide range of tasks, both on and off the field. Nominations were sought from clubs across the island, and a huge number were received. The Community Hero awards were nominated by club members and supporters of the competition.

Meanwhile, Jack Kelleher, Player of the Year in the Men’s Division 1A, played alongside him throughout the campaign, which culminated in Cork Constitution’s victory over Terenure College in the final. Lindsay Peat, Women’s Player of the Year, had a great season. She helped Railway Union all the way to the final, falling just short against UL Bohemian. These awards were voted on by Rugby Head Coaches and Directors across the competition.

The Energia ‘Possibilities’ Award went to St. Mary’s College RFC.

Energia AIL Community Hero Award winner Tadhg Crowe, from Shannon RFC, receives his award from Irish Women’s Head Coach Scott Bemand, Irish Rugby Performance Director David Humphreys, Gary Ryan, Energia and IRFU President Greg Barrett at Bective Rangers FC. PHOTO: ©INPHO / Ryan Byrne

Managing Director at Energia, Gary Ryan said: “On behalf of Energia, I would like to congratulate the award winners and thank everyone who attended the awards, expressing your appreciation to the players and volunteers who ensured a fantastic season. We are already looking forward to seeing all the players back on the field for what will undoubtedly be another gripping Energia AIL season.”

Commenting on the Energia AIL Awards, Greg Barrett, Chairman of the IRFU said: “On behalf of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), I would like to congratulate all the winners of the various Men’s and Women’s Energia All-Ireland Leagues for their efforts over the course of the season.

“The top divisions recently concluded in a thrilling crescendo at the Aviva Stadium, where an historic double-header saw UL Bohemian (women) and Cork Constitution (men) deserved winners in two competitive finals.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Energia for their tremendous continued support of Irish rugby across the domestic game. Their support is invaluable and helps raise the profile of the club game across the island of Ireland.”

Presented by sports broadcaster Aisling O’Reilly, this year’s awards celebrated the action both on and off the field and highlighted some of the real skills, talents and incredible rugby we’ve seen from the players this season.

Energia AIL Player of the Year Awards

  • Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Player of the Year 2023/24: Lindsay Peat (Railway Union)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1A player of the Year 2023/24: Jack Kelleher (Cork Constitution)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 1B player of the Year 2023/24: Ronan Watters (St. Mary’s College)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2A player of the Year 2023/24: Willie Coffey (Nenagh Ormond)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2B player of the Year 2023/24: John Devine (Galway Corinthians)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division 2C player of the Year 2023/24: Callum Smyton (Clogher Valley)

Energia AIL Coach of the Year Awards

  • Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division Coach of the Year 2023/24: Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemian)
  • Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division Coach of the Year 2023/24: Sean Skehan (Terenure College)

Energia AIL Community Hero Award

Energia AIL Capability Award

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