Mack Hansen and Catherine Martin were the big winners at last night’s annual Connacht Rugby Awards Ball, with the pair named Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year for 2021/22.
The accolade is the latest in a string of achievements for Hansen who has enjoyed a whirlwind first season at the club. The back three player scored 7 tries in 14 appearances for the province, and also started in four of Ireland’s five Guinness Six Nations games, scoring a famous try against France in the process.
His performances meant he was duly voted the Men’s Player of the Year by his fellow teammates, with Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver also nominated for the award.
The Women’s Player of the Year award went to Catherine Martin after her excellent appearances for Connacht in this season’s Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.
Meanwhile Cian Prendergast’s breakthrough season was deservedly acknowledged by the supporters, with the flanker named the Fans’ Player of the Year after a week of public voting on connachtrugby.ie.
Matthew Devine capped a brilliant season with the scrum-half named the Academy Player of the Year, largely thanks to his excellent performances for the Ireland U20s in their Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign.
There were also emotional scenes at the Clayton Hotel when the late, great Mick Grealish was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Contribution to Connacht Rugby Award, with his wife Maureen and family on hand to receive the accolade on his behalf.
The full list of winners and nominees is as follows (winners in italics): U18 Men’s Player of the Year, sponsored by Sound to LightMax Flynn – Corinthians RFC / CC Roscrea
Hugh Gavin – Galwegians RFC / The Jes
Ryan Roche – Galwegians RFC / St. Paul’s Oughterard U18 Women’s Player of the Year, sponsored by RDJMolly Boote – Connemara RFC / Clifden Community College
Éabha Nic Dhonnacha – Corinthians RFC / Chuimsitheach na Chiaráin, An Cheathru Rua
Karly Tierney – Tuam/Oughterard RFC / Salerno Salthill U19 Men’s Player of the Year, sponsored by Benchmark RecruitmentHarry West – Ballina RFC / King’s Hospital
John Devine – Ballinasloe RFC / Garbally College
Adam Hunter – Sligo RFC / Sligo Grammar Academy Player of the Year, sponsored by Total HealthMatthew Devine
Diarmuid Kilgallen Referee of the Year, sponsored by LK ShieldsAndrew Fogarty
Gerry Geraghty Coach of the Year, sponsored by DeloitteCharlie Couper – Buccaneers RFC
Martin Cummins – Dunmore RFC
Henry O’Toole – Connemara RFC Women’s Club Player of the Year, sponsored by CityLinkAoife Williams – Galwegians RFC
Noreen Coyne – Westport RFC
Hazel Kilduff – Buccaneers RFC Men’s Junior Club Player of the Year, sponsored by LayaBrian Diffley – Creggs RFC
Steven Conroy – Ballinrobe RFC
Ian Staunton – Connemara RFC Men’s Senior Club Player of the Year, sponsored by AerogenCalum Quinn – Ballina RFC
Shayn Layden – Buccaneers RFC
Mark McDermott – Corinthians RFC Club of the Year, sponsored by Bank of IrelandCreggs RFC
Sligo RFC Fans’ Player of the Year, sponsored by Intersport ElverysCian Prendergast
Conor Oliver Lifetime Contribution to Connacht Rugby, sponsored by Heineken
Mick Grealish R.I.P. Women’s Player of the Year, sponsored by GenesysCatherine Martin
Fiona Scally Men’s Player of the Year, sponsored by GenesysMack Hansen