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Ulster Rugby: Andrew Trimble heading race for Player of Year

By Michael Sadlier

Andrew Trimble's tremendous form this season has been acknowledged by his peers through his nomination for the Hibernia College Ireland Rugby Players' Association Player of the Year award for 2014, which is to be presented at a glittering ceremony in Dublin on May 7.

The 29-year-old winger has been playing some of the best rugby of his career and his surprise recall to the national squad saw Ireland coach Joe Schmidt select him throughout Ireland's Six Nations Championship winning campaign, during which Trimble was a standout performer and scored three tries.

Trimble has also continued producing consistently notable performances for Ulster this season and scored his first ever hat-trick of tries while playing against Connacht at Ravenhill earlier this month. He will also be attempting to land a notable double for his province after Nick Williams lifted the Players' Player of the Year award last season.

Trimble is facing considerable competition as he is going up against Munster's Peter O'Mahony and Leinster's Devin Toner for the accolade which is voted for by the entire professional player group across the country.

Another Ulster player in the running for recognition for an IRUPA award is Roger Wilson, who has been named as one of three candidates to have been shortlisted for the O2 Unsung Hero Award with Connacht's Michael Swift and James Coughlan of Munster being the other nominees.

The much coveted Players' Player of the Year award is one of 10 to be presented – this year will include three new categories – at the event which will be hosted by Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell.

This year's Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year is being contested by Connacht's Robbie Henshaw – who won it last year – and Leinster's Jack McGrath and Jordi Murphy.

The Volkswagen Try of the Year includes IRUPA chairman Rob Kearney's intercept effort against New Zealand in last November's heart-breaking defeat along with JJ Hanrahan's last-gasp effort for Munster against Perpignan in the Heineken Cup and Jonathan Sexton's second try against France in Paris in the Six Nations title showdown game.

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Meanwhile, the club game is also due to host its own end of season event on April 24 when the Ulster Bank League Awards are due to be handed out in Dublin.

There are nine awards to be won for this season's All-Ireland League with five to be secured by those involved in Division 1A – Player of the Year, Top Try Scorer, Top Points Scorer, Rising Star and Coach of the Year – in this the second year of the club awards. Unsurprisingly, 1A champions Clontarf and runners-up Old Belvedere are leading the charge for the honours after what turned out to be a dramatic final day of the season last Saturday.

In a far from vintage season for Ulster clubs across the four divisions, only Banbridge's Ian Porter has made the shortlist for Player of the Year in Division 2A. For more on the Ulster Bank League Awards, visit Ulster Bank Rugby on Facebook and Twitter using #UBL.

Belfast Telegraph


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