Johnny Sexton named Rugby Writers Player of the Year
Ireland outhalf has had an outstanding year, capped by Saturday’s win over the All Blacks
Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton has been named Guinness Rugby Writers Ireland Player of the Year for 2017/18. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Johnny Sexton has been honoured as the Guinness Rugby Writers Ireland Player of the Year for 2017/18 at the annual Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Awards hosted at Aviva Stadium.
This followed a season in which he was the orchestrator in chief of a stellar campaign for province and country, which featured Ireland’s second Grand Slam in almost half a century, a series win in Australia for the first time since 1979 and Leinster’s double of European Champions Cup and Guinness Pro14.
It’s the second time Sexton has been voted as the Player of the Year by the Rugby Writers of Ireland, having also won the award in 2012-13.
“It’s a very prestigious award to win in Ireland,” said Sexton. “You look at the list of players that have won it before, it’s very pleasing that your efforts can be acknowledged. It could have gone to many, many players with the season we had in this country, I can think of six or seven lads just off the top of my head, so I’m very happy to have been chosen.”
Awards were also presented to the Ireland’s Men’s National Team, Dr Claire Molloy, Leinster Rugby and Lansdowne FC, while Gerry ‘Ginger’ McLoughlin and John O’Driscoll were inducted into the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame.
Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships for Diageo, Europe said: “Guinness has a long and proud heritage with Irish rugby and is committed to supporting the game that embodies grit, camaraderie and extraordinary passion at both club and international level. 2018 has been an incredible year for Irish rugby, one that will long be celebrated and remembered. We are delighted to award Johnny Sexton the Guinness Rugby Writers “Player of The Year Award” for his outstanding performances for Leinster and Ireland. We are honoured to be part of this evening’s celebrations at the home of Irish rugby where we saw history made on Saturday, and to welcome so many of our past and current players to Aviva Stadium to acknowledge their achievements.”
The Dave Guiney Team of the Year Award was presented to the Ireland Men’s National Team who have risen to number two in the world rankings with a Grand Slam, and historic wins in Australia and at home just last weekend against the All Blacks. The team has achieved an unbeaten record of 11 tests in the Aviva Stadium and will play their final fixture for the Guinness Series on Saturday against the USA.
Dr Claire Molloy picked up the Women’s Player of the Year for a second year in a row. Flanker Molloy, the current Irish captain, plays her club rugby with Wasps. In an Irish jersey, she led the team to wins over Italy and Wales in the Six Nations earlier this year. The former Galway Minor footballer is also an Accident & Emergency doctor. Molloy previously captained the Ireland Women’s Sevens team during the 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup in Russia.
Leinster Rugby was named as Club of the Year, marking an incredible season where they claimed a historic double: beating Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final in Bilbao for their record fourth title, and then two weeks later, winning the Guinness Pro14 final against Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.
The Tom Rooney Award is awarded to a person or club who have made a significant contribution to rugby and this year it was awarded to Lansdowne FC, one of the oldest rugby clubs in Ireland. Lansdowne FC had an incredible 2017-18 winning every competition they entered at senior level. Under the guidance of Mike Ruddock, Lansdowne won the All-Ireland League, All-Ireland Cup, Leinster Senior League and Leinster Senior Cup.
Two former players were inducted into the Guinness Rugby Writers Hall of Fame on the night:
Gerry ‘Ginger’ McLoughlin is a former Irish international who famously scored a try at Twickenham in 1982 carrying half the English pack over the line. The win was instrumental in Ireland winning the triple crown for the first time since 1949. Ginger played his club rugby with Shannon RFC and played on the 1983 British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
John O’Driscoll is a former Irish international who received 26 caps for Ireland. He toured South Africa (1980) and New Zealand (1983) with the British & Irish Lions, and O’Driscoll played for Connacht at Inter-Provincial level. In 2001 O’Driscoll was a selector for the British & Irish Lions.