Ireland second row James Ryan has been named 2019 Players’ Player of the Year at the annual Irish Rugby Players Awards in Dublin.
The 22-year-old was a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winner last year and has continued his upward trajectory to become a key figure in Joe Schmidt’s set-up this year.
Ireland could not repeat the feat in 2019 as they failed to defend their Championship title against the imperious Wales but Ryan was one player in particular who maintained a high standard throughout.
The Leinster man beat Tadhg Beirne, Jack Carty and Peter O’Mahony to the award while he also became the first player ever to pick up the main prize and the 2019 Young Player of the Year award in the same season, winning the latter ahead of Jordan Larmour and last year’s winner Jacob Stockdale.
It has been a memorable year for the young lock, who was also named Leinster’s Player of the Year, and could yet finish the season with some silverware as Leo Cullen’s side are still in the running to become Guinness PRO14 champions.
James Ryan Scoops Double At Zurich Irish Rugby Players Awards. https://t.co/vT9HbWV1BQ
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) 16 May 2019
“It’s always nice to win awards, but tonight has been particularly special in that I am being recognised by my teammates and opponents,” said Ryan.
“I have many great memories of the season but there have also been plenty of learnings that I will take with me into the future.
“A special word of thanks to my family who continue to guide me through what has been a fairly hectic rugby career to date.”
Carty was also recognised as the Supporters’ Player of the Year after making his debut for his country at this year’s Championship coming on as a replacement during Ireland’s 26-16 win over Italy.
The 26-year-old also enjoyed a landmark year with Connacht as he became the club’s all-time top points scorer.
Meanwhile Ireland Women’s captain Ciara Griffin was named Women’s Player of the Year ahead of fellow nominees Anna Caplice and Eimear Considine.