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Ulster trio scoop prestigious All Ireland League awards



Michael Orr

Michael Orr

©Matt Mackey - Presseye.com

Michael Orr

Queen's University player Michael Orr, Malone's Neve Jones and Division 1A club Ballynahinch all picked up accolades from the Energia AIL Virtual Awards which were held at the weekend.

Orr, who plays full-back for Queen's, was named the Rising Star of Division 2A where their impressive form has seen the students rise to third in the table, and put themselves in position to potentially win promotion, before the season was abandoned due to Covid-19.

Malone forward Jones took ownership of the Rising Star award in the women's game and, in February, had been called up to the Ireland squad during what became an uncompleted Six Nations.

On the club front, Ballynahinch were presented with the inaugural 'Club Scene Award' which will have brought some consolation from what had been an intensely difficult campaign in top flight Division 1A.

The award was presented to the Co Down club for creating a real sense of community throughout all levels of rugby played at Ballymacarn Park.

The official release hailed Hinch as a progressive club and stated, "from the mini's all the way up the seniors, going to all lengths to welcome visiting clubs in and always bringing a strong support crew to any games around the country."

Meanwhile, former Ulster prop Schalk van der Merwe has joined Lurgan as a player/coach with the emphasis on overseeing the junior club's scrummaging.

The South African was released early from his Ulster contract in December 2018 after joining the province following stints in South Africa and France. He only made three appearances in his season and a half at the Kingspan.

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