The Leinster Awards Ball took place this evening (Saturday, 7th May) in the Double Tree by Hilton as players past and present celebrated the 2015/16 season to date and said a fond farewell to a number of players who had contributed much to the success of Leinster over the years.

Master of Ceremonies Darragh Maloney, ably assisted by house band for the night Deja Boo, entertained the over 600 guests as awards supplied by Tipperary Crystal were presented to both professional and domestic winners.

Ben Te’o and Josh van der Flier were the big winners on the night as they won the Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year and the Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year Awards, while Belvedere College and St Mary’s RFC were notable winners on the domestic side.

Former Old Belvedere, Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions outhalf Ollie Campbell who played 22 times for Ireland between 1976-1984 received rapturous applause and a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd as he was inducted into the Leinster Rugby Hall of Fame by Leinster Rugby President Robert McDermott.

There was also time to look back on the careers and the contributions of those that would not be staying with Leinster Rugby beyond this season.

In particular, former club captain Kevin McLaughlin and scrumhalf Isaac Boss, were both celebrated for their achievements in the blue of Leinster with 248 caps between them in addition to two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and three PRO12 titles during illustrious careers for Leinster and Ireland.

Isa Nacewa and Sean O’Brien joined Darragh Maloney to look back on the contribution of Isaac Boss to the Leinster cause, while Johnny Sexton and Fergus McFadden did likewise for McLaughlin.

As both players were presented with their Leinster caps, once again, there was a standing ovation for two favourite sons of Leinster.

Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen commented, “I think it’s been a great night overall and great to look back over the season to date and to acknowledge some really big contributions. It was great to see the ovation that Kevin and Isaac received. Their contribution to Leinster over the years is hard to quantify but they were huge parts of that journey.

“I am delighted for Ben and Josh. This is very much a squad effort and nothing would be possible without the contributions of each and every one of the players but I think we can acknowledge that Ben and Josh have had outstanding years and I congratulate them both. The award is probably that bit more special as it has been voted for by their fellow players.”

Leinster Rugby also said farewell to a number of other players as they too were presented with their official caps.

Cullen added, “Naturally it is a night of mixed emotion for some of those here but I am very grateful to each and every one of those players for their contribution to Leinster Rugby over the years and I wish them every success in their careers ahead.”

Full List of Winners – Leinster Rugby Awards Ball 2016

Irish Independent Development School of the Year Award: Dundalk Grammar School

Beauchamps Solicitors Club Special Merit Award: Norman Carter

Deep River Rock On Field Achievement Award: Enniscorthy RFC

CityJet Senior Club of the Year: St Mary’s RFC

BDO Junior Club of the Year: Co. Carlow FC

Life Style Sports School of the Year: Belvedere College

Guinness Hall of Fame: Ollie Campbell

Canterbury Tackle of the Year: Isa Nacewa (v Connacht)

Irish Independent Try of the Year (as voted by the public on Dave Kearney 

Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year: Josh van der Flier (other nominees: Garry Ringrose, Luke McGrath and Ross Molony)

Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year: Ben Te’o (other nominees: Jack McGrath, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier)

Full List of Departees – Leinster Rugby:

Tadhg Beirne
Isaac Boss
Royce Burke-Flynn
Tom Denton
Aaron Dundon
Darragh Fanning
Ian Madigan
Mick McGrath
Kevin McLaughlin
Marty Moore
Colm O’Shea
Tony Ryan
Ben Te’o