Peers’ accolade a fitting reward for Andrew Trimble’s excellent campaign
Transformation in the Irish winger’s form and standing since last November quite remarkable
Andrew Trimble scores Ireland’s second try against France in Paris. “To win this award just means the world to me.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
There would have been long odds on him being the chosen one as recently as last November, never mind the start of the season, but there will be few quibbles with the choice of his peers in last night naming Andrew Trimble the Hibernia College Irupa Players’ Player of the Year 2014 at the Players’ Association’s 12th annual awards ceremony. Trimble was chuffed to bits.
“It means the world to me. To be honest, there’s that much that’s happened this year that’s it all just built up on top of each other, every single little thing. Even being selected at the start of the Six Nations, to developing that into performing okay, to winning the Championship, and even to be nominated with Dev (Toner) and Peter (O’Mahony) who’ve both had unbelievable seasons, I would look up to them.”
“I’ve a fair idea how good they’ve been all year so to win this award – especially the fact that it was voted by the players – just means the world to me and it’s definitely a career highlight for me.”
The transformation in his form and standing from last November, when about seventh in the pecking order, to a point where even allowing for the injuries that ruled out rivals, Trimble’s position on the right wing was cast in stone, was quite remarkable.
“I really wanted to be part of a special year, a special Six Nations campaign and a really great bunch of guys as well, and then just to take my opportunity,” he added.
“I managed to keep my place and build on that . . . it just makes me hungrier for more; more opportunities to play for Ireland and more success. If I keep working hard there’s no reason I can’t do the same again.”
He scored in three of Ireland’s five games, competed superbly in the air and ticked all the many boxes that Joe Schmidt demands of his wingers, whom he likes to be akin to third centres.
“He creates opportunities for wingers as well. He gets wingers into his game plan. I think the pattern of play suits a winger, but while he provides those opportunities for wingers, he requires a lot as well, with work-rate, kick-chase, organisation, defensively covering the back field.”
Had Trimble dummied to Brian O’Driscoll (not an easy thing to do) and run in a pitch-length counter-attack in the build-up to Johnny Sexton’s second half try, and scored a second try on the day himself, he’d probably have been a deserving Man of the Match, but either way he describes it as “the number one” highlight of his career.
“I’ve been to Paris a couple of times and to be honest Paris has got the better of me a few times. A couple of years ago when we drew the replayed game 17-all I just felt like I let the opportunity pass me by. I felt like I was watching the game. I was making mistakes, I was getting flustered, and shying away, and so I didn’t want to be in that position again, and I think that was where the whole squad was at. ‘We’ve got this chance, let’s make sure we take it’. And we managed to do that.”
Trimble was taking time out yesterday from his busy schedule which is currently combining a diploma in management online at Hibernia College.
“Myself and Tommy (Bowe) are doing the same qualification at the minute so we’re studying together. At this time of year you tend to cram it a bit but it’s good, I’ve enjoyed it and I’m hoping to get something out of it.”
He is mustard keen to be on the tour to Argentina but, he adds quickly, “we’ve a bit of work to do domestically” in reference to Ulster’s concluding Pro12 fixture away to Munster tomorrow and a probable semi-final away to Leinster a week later.
Trimble was chosen from a shortlist of seven in which every member of Irupa was permitted to vote for one provincial team-mate and one from outside their own province.
Last Sunday Trimble was also recognised as the Ulster Player of the Year.
Connacht and Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw was awarded the Nevin Spence Young Player 2014 for the second year in succession, marking the first time a player has won back-to-back awards in any category in the 12 -year history of the awards.
The VW Try of the Year went to Rob Kearney for his intercept try against New Zealand in November.
The latest addition to the BNY Mellon Irupa Hall of Fame was Ulster and Ireland prop Simon Best. Munster’s James Coughlan collected the O2 Unsung Hero Award, voted for by the public on the O2 Ireland Facebook and Twitter accounts. Devin Toner was presented with the Newstalk106-108fm Supporters Player of the Year as chosen by listeners of Off the Ball. Leinster’s Shane Jennings was awarded the Hibernia College Medal for Excellence, which rewards on field effort combined with off field commitment to the game.
Three new awards featured the Boardmatch Contribution to Society, presented to Donncha O’Callaghan in recognition of his work with Unicef. The inaugural BNY Mellon Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2014 was presented to Nicole Cronin while Ireland’s Six Nations title win was voted as the Powerscourt Hotel Rugby Moment of the Year via Twitter.