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.