Tipp rugby star launches Ulster Bank League awards

Ulster Bank, official community rugby partner to the IRFU, has announced the return of the ‘Ulster Bank League Awards’.

Ulster Bank, official community rugby partner to the IRFU, has announced the return of the ‘Ulster Bank League Awards’.

The 2013/2014 club rugby season marks the second year of the awards – first introduced by Ulster Bank last season, to recognise and reward the dedication and commitment shown by players, coaches and teams, across all Ulster Bank League Divisions.

With a helping hand from Irish rugby star, Fergus McFadden; Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt; Ulster Bank rugby ambassador and Tipperary man, Alan Quinlan; and former Lansdowne RFC out-half, inaugural Ulster Bank League Award winner and current Connacht rugby star, Craig Ronaldson, the new-look awards were launched in Lansdowne Rugby Club.

Throughout the 2013/2014 season, a panel of judges, led by Alan Quinlan, will select a shortlist for all relevant award categories, with the winners being announced at a national awards ceremony in April, 2014. This year’s categories are:

1. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1A

2. Ulster Bank Top Try Scorer – Division 1A

3. Ulster Bank Top Points Scorer – Division 1A

4. Ulster Bank Rising Star Award – Division 1A (Shortlist compiled from player chosen monthly)

5. Ulster Bank Coach of the Year – Division 1A

6. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 1B

7. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2A

8. Ulster Bank Player of the Year – Division 2B

9. Ulster Bank Team of the Year – Across all UBL Divisions

10. Ulster Bank Club Volunteer of the Year – Across all UBL Divisions

11. Ulster Bank RugbyForce Winners – Winning clubs announced at national awards ceremony

Speaking at the launch, Mr Quinlan said: “The Ulster Bank League Awards are about shining a spotlight on the great talent that stems from rugby clubs in every corner of the country. They are also about rewarding the commitment shown by teams, coaches and volunteers on a weekly basis. It is so important to highlight that you don’t need to travel to a provincial fixture to see a great game of rugby. Week-in and week-out, there are exceptional players taking part in nail-biting clashes all over the country. The role of rugby clubs for the development of players is essential. Connacht’s signing of Craig Ronaldson, from Lansdowne RFC, is proof of that. I am delighted to be associated with awards that enhance the development of Irish rugby.”

This season also marks the fourth year of Ulster Bank RugbyForce – an initiative which provides rugby clubs with the opportunity to win support packages to renovate their club and upgrade their facilities. To date, the initiative has provided over €100,000 in funding to over 160 rugby clubs, across the island of Ireland. This year one lucky club will be chosen to receive a €10,000 funding package and a training session with an IRFU coach and two Irish rugby stars. Four additional clubs (one from each province) will also receive a €5,000 funding package each. All entries to the initiative will receive merchandise for their club to the value of €100.

For further information on the Ulster Bank League Awards and to enter Ulster Bank RugbyForce, visit www.ulsterbank.com/rugby . Registrations for Ulster Bank RugbyForce will close at midnight on Friday, April 11, 2014. Terms and conditions apply.