University College Dublin first year Beibhinn Parsons was awarded the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Women’s player of the year on Thursday 21 January. While studying for her leaving cert, and preparing to start her Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences degree at UCD, Parsons scored three tries in the Six Nations in her three appearances in 2020.
In a press statement released by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) on Thursday, Parsons said that she was thrilled to have even been nominated for the award. “Winning the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award is a real ‘pinch me’ moment,” Parsons said.
The 19-year-old from Ballinasloe said that she struggled to compare herself to previous winners of the award. “To follow in the footsteps of incredible players like Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy and Sene Naoupu is just incredible! To even be nominated for an award of this calibre has exceeded all my expectations. I would have never considered myself to be in the same bracket of players with those women.”
Parsons was joined by a former UCD student on the honours list, as Leinster and Ireland centre Garry Ringrose was named Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Player of The Year. Ringrose was one of the brightest sparks during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup journey in Japan and brought his form home with him as Leinster went unbeaten in the 2019/2020 Guinness PRO14.
“It is a real honour to be named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Player of the Year,” Ringrose said in the IRFU press statement. “2020 was an extremely challenging year for us all and I am very grateful to the rugby writers of Ireland for selecting me as the winner of this prestigious award at the end of it all.
“Although, last season was great and I am very proud to be part of the Guinness PRO14 winning team with Leinster, I hope that I can kick on in 2021 for both Leinster and Ireland.”
Other winners from the yearly awards were the late Garrett Fitzgerald, who was awarded the Tom Rooney award, Jordan Conroy, the winner of the Men’s 7s player of the year, and Louise Galvin, who won the Women’s 7s player of the year. Leinster were awarded the Dave Guiney Team of the Year award, while Ballynahinch was awarded the Club of the Year. Trevor Ringland and Fiona Coghlan were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Stephen Kisbey-Green – Co-Editor