CJ Stander the standout player for Munster

Munster Player of the Year CJ Stander and his wife Jean Marie

CJ Stander acknowledged the encouragement and drive of his team-mates after being named Munster’s Player of the Year at the province’s 2015 Munster Rugby Awards in Cork yesterday.

The dynamic and influential back-rower became the first overseas player to win the prestigious award, in his third season since leaving his native South Africa, where Stander had captained the Springboks’ Under-20 side.

The 25-year-old edged out fellow forwards Billy Holland and last year’s winner Tommy O’Donnell for the award, the trio having been nominated by their fellow players.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award,” Stander said. “I always want to do my best in a red jersey.”

Hooker Duncan Casey received the Young Player of the Year award at the ceremony in the Maryborough House Hotel while Jack O’Donoghue added his name to a list that includes Test caps Tomas O’Leary, Keith Earls, O’Donnell, Conor Murray and James Cronin when he became the latest player to receive the John McCarthy Award for Munster Academy Player of the Year.

CJ Stander the standout player for Munster

Caroline and Jack O’Donoghue at the Munster Rugby Awards at the Maryborough Hotel & Spa yesterday.

Waterford-born back row O’Donoghue, who captained Munster A to victory over Ulster Ravens on Wednesday, was named ahead of Rory Scannell and Darren Sweetnam.

Tralee and Munster flanker Ciara Griffin was the choice of her interprovincial championship-winning team-mates to receive the Munster women’s player of the year award while Andy Brace was named referee of the year at the end of a season in which he took charge of the British & Irish Cup final.

CJ Stander the standout player for Munster

Felix Jones with Katrina Manning and Sharon Beale at the Munster Rugby Awards at the Maryborough Hotel & Spa.

Cork Con stalwart Noel Murphy yesterday added induction into the Munster Hall of Fame to the long list of accolades and honours amassed from a lifetime in rugby on the club, provincial, national and international scene.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lions flanker, who captained province and country and coached all three, has also served as president of his club, province and the IRFU, as well as having served on the International Rugby Board and been a director of ERC.

Reflecting on his involvement in the game, particularly his administrative roles during the transition to professionalism, Murphy said: “There’s been some wonderful players and probably the best player I’ve ever seen play for Ireland, and I’ve been following rugby for 60 years, is Paul O’Connell. If the definition of professional rugby is Paul O’Connell, then it’s been great.”

O’Connell was on hand to present his own club, Young Munster RFC, with the Senior Club of the year award, an accolade which may ease of the pain suffered last weekend at Aviva Stadium when a late score by Lansdowne denied them a place in this season’s All-Ireland Ulster Bank League final.

Clonmel RFC picked up the Junior Club award after winning Division 1 of the Munster Junior League for the first time in the club’s 123-year history as well as the Munster Junior Clubs Cup, while this Sunday they will bid for a Munster Junior Cup final victory.

Bandon Grammar was named School of the year, Clare’s Ennis RFC the youth section and Kerry’s Listowel RFC the mini section of the year.


Lifestyle

Frank Keogh did not want to get a hearing aid. He was afraid that it would make him look old. But now, just several weeks after having one fitted, he says that he can’t do without it.Hearing tests: A word in your ear

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

More From The Irish Examiner