Caelan Doris and Jenny Murphy win Leinster player of the year awards

Scott Penny and Aoife Dalton win the young player awards while Garry Ringrose takes try of the year gong

Caelan Doris and Jenny Murphy won the respective men’s and women’s player of the year awards which were presented at Leinster’s annual gala ball on Sunday night.

It is the second award for Doris in the past fortnight as he was voted players’ player of the year at the Rugby Players Ireland awards. The 25-year-old Leinster and Ireland number eight played 13 matches for the province this season, lining out in all three backrow positions and scoring three tries over the campaign.

Murphy, the former Ireland international centre, demonstrated for Leinster and her club Old Belvedere that class is enduring, and this was recognised in claiming the women’s award.

Aoife Dalton who made her Irish debut as a teenager on the summer tour to Japan and has gone on to win seven caps was voted women’s young player of the year. The 20-year-old Clara centre excelled for both her province and club.


Flanker Scott Penny (23) won the men’s version, adding six tries this season to his overall tally of a remarkable 29 in just 56 appearances for the province.

Garry Ringrose’s try against Racing 92 in the Heineken Champions Cup was voted try of the year and picked up the Leinster supporters’ player of the year award while young Trinity centre Liam Turner won the best tackle for his brilliant last-ditch effort against the Stormers.

Former Ireland coach Gerry Murphy was inducted into the Hall of Fame. An accomplished outhalf with Trinity and Wanderers and a fine cricketer with Phoenix, he was Ireland coach from 1992-1995, leading them to the quarter-finals of the World Cup and back-to-back wins over England at Lansdowne Road (1993) and Twickenham (1994).

Gonzaga College, who won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup for their first time in their history, beating defending champions Blackrock College in a memorable final, won the school of the year, while St Mary’s CBS in Portlaoise took the development school honours. Old Belvedere and Mullingar won club awards while Co Carlow’s Rachael O’Brien was honoured for her contribution to Leinster rugby.

Leinster also recognised retiring or departing players led by captain Johnny Sexton, who will retire from professional rugby after this year’s World Cup in France. Hooker James Tracy and former Ireland under-20 Grand Slam winner Charlie Ryan were forced to retire through injury, while wing Dave Kearney and scrumhalf Nick McCarthy are believed to be heading for America and a playing opportunity in Chicago.

Ireland Sevens player Andrew Smith and backrow Seán O’Brien are heading to Connacht while hooker Tadhg McElroy, prop Marcus Hanan and wing cum fullback Max O’Reilly have seen their time at the province come to an end.

Departing players (caps/points): Johnny Sexton (189 caps/1,646 points), Dave Kearney (186/275), James Tracy (141/90), Nick McCarthy (62/25), Tadgh McElroy (4/0), Charlie Ryan (0/0), Seán O’Brien (3/0), Max O’Reilly (11/10), Marcus Hanan (4/0), Andrew Smith (2/0).

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer