Ronan, a member of the Rugby Players Ireland Executive Board, was awarded the Medal for Excellence, which rewards on-field effort combined with off-field commitment to the game. The Galway man will finish with Connacht Rugby this summer after 12 seasons as a professional player. He was a member of the first academy squad assembled in the province and went on to play 191 games across the PRO12 and Europe competitions.
The Contribution to Irish Society award was presented to both Heenan and Hannah Tyrrell in recognition of their work in their respective communities. After four years at Connacht, Jake continues to set an example on and off the pitch as a member of the senior squad. This season, he bravely told his story of facing adversity and the importance of talking to people in a nationwide awareness campaign known as Tackle Your Feelings with Rugby Players Ireland.
Jake gives a lot of his time supporting local charities and is closely involved as a volunteer with Dóchas don Óige – a provider of services for young people in the Galway city area.
2017 Rugby Players Ireland Awards – Winners
Women’s 7s Player of the Year – Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
Medal for Excellence – Ronan Loughney
Moment of the Year – ‘One Day in Chicago’ – Ireland defeat New Zealand at Soldier Field
Supporters’ Player of the Year – Tadhg Furlong
Women’s XVs Player of the Year – Lindsay Peat
Contribution to Irish Society – Jake Heenan & Hannah Tyrrell
Try of the Year – Robbie Henshaw (v New Zealand, at Soldier Field, Chicago)
Hall of Fame – Geordan Murphy
Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year – Garry Ringrose
Players’ Player of the Year – Conor Murray
To find out more about Rugby Players Ireland, visit their website at rugbyplayersireland.ie.