Keith Earls wins Munster Player of the Year to complete unique hat-trick

By Stephen Barry

Keith Earls has been named as Munster's Player of the Year at the annual Munster Rugby Awards.

Earls took the public vote ahead of Jean Kleyn and Rory Scannell to complete a unique treble - adding the main gong to the Young Player of the Year (2009) and Academy Player of the Year (2007) awards.

Earls scored five tries in nine games for Munster this season, while also starring for Ireland in their Grand Slam success.

22-year-old Sammy Arnold won the Young Player of the Year award.

The former Ulster player scored five tries in 15 appearances since November to make it an impressive breakout second season with the province.

The John McCarthy Award for the Greencore Academy Player of the Year went to Fineen Wycherley.

The 20-year-old Bantry man moves up to a development contract next season after impressing in his two seasons as a member of the Academy. He has made six senior appearances to date, including four this season.

The Hall of Fame award was accepted by Olive Foley on behalf of Munster legend Anthony Foley, who passed away suddenly in October 2016.

The other awards were distributed as follows:

Women’s Player of the Year – Gill Bourke

Referee of the Year – Joy Neville

Senior Club of the Year – Old Crescent RFC

Junior Club of the Year – Richmond RFC

Club Youth Section of the Year – Newport RFC

Club Mini Section of the Year – Killarney RFC

School of the Year – Glenstal Abbey

Last night, Dan Leavy and James Ryan were the big winners at the Leinster Rugby Awards as they won the Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year and the Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year Awards. Nora Stapleton collected the award for Woman's Player of the Year.

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