Caelan Doris and Neve Jones win Irish Players' Players Awards

Caelan Doris of Leinster and Ireland has been named the Bank of Ireland's Men's Players' Players of the Year.
Caelan Doris of Leinster and Ireland has been named the Bank of Ireland's Men's Players' Players of the Year.

Caelan Doris and Neve Jones have been named the Bank of Ireland's Players' Players of the Year for 2023 by their fellow players at the Rugby Players Ireland Awards.

Back-row forward Doris has had an outstanding season with both Leinster and Ireland, establishing himself as a rising star in the sport.

Ballymena woman Jones enjoyed a stand-out season as hooker, starting for Gloucester-Hartpury, Ulster, and Ireland, despite a difficult campaign for the last-named.

As a key member of his teams, Doris has played an integral role in both Ireland and Leinster's successes this season, contributing significantly to important victories throughout the season in both the green and the blue jerseys. Doris took the award ahead of formidable Ireland team-mates and fellow nominees Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, and Dan Sheehan.

The Mayo native commented: "I am honoured to receive this recognition from my fellow players. Across the season, we rely on each other as team-mates to be a strong support for one another, both on and off the field. To be acknowledged by them for any contribution I have made to their season is very special.

"It is fantastic to receive this award, but I want to acknowledge my team-mates and fellow nominees - what a phenomenal season it has been for Irish rugby and Leinster Rugby and I'm excited to see what we are capable of achieving together in the coming days and months."

Caelan Doris dives in to score a try for Ireland.
Caelan Doris dives in to score a try for Ireland.

Members of the Ireland squad voted for Jones to receive the female award, which was accepted on Neve's behalf by her team-mates.

Jones prevailed over strong competition from her fellow nominees, Ireland captain Nichola Fryday and Deirbhile Nic a Bháird. Jones's outstanding achievements and contributions have been marked by excellent defensive skills and an impressive work-rate, ensuring she is equally effective on either side of the ball.

Jones' season was also characterised by her capabilities as a strong team player, always looking to support her team-mates and contribute to the team's overall success.

Speaking about her award, Jones said: "This has been a tough year for the team, but we have shown some great examples of our character and resilience. We are an extremely close team and are proud to back each other on the good and bad days.

"This award could go to anyone in the green jersey this season, so it really is an honour to be recognised and to be able to represent a fantastic group of players."

The 2023 iZest Marketing Women's XVs Young Player of The Year was awarded to Leinster's Aoife Dalton with AIB Corporate Banking Women's XVs Try of the Year being awarded to Fryday for her score against Scotland in this year's TikTok Six Nations. With captains clearly leading by example, Ireland 7s Captain Lucy Mulhall claims the TritonLake Women's 7s Player of the Year.

Many of the biggest names in Irish rugby were present at the Clayton Hotel on the Burlington Road for what was a celebration of the season's highs and lows across all teams.

Despite three strong contenders in the mix for the MSL Mercedes-Benz Dealerships' Men's XVs Try of the Year, it was Mack Hansen's triumphant team try against South Africa during the Autumn Nations Series in November that claimed this year's accolade.

Further awards were presented to Irish player Andrew Smith who was named as the TritonLake Men's 7s Player of the Year 2023 for the first time.

Leinster Rugby's Alex Soroka's outstanding contribution through fundraising for the Ukrainian National Children's Hospital was also recognised in his winning of the Zurich Contribution to Irish Society Award, while Munster's Jack Crowley was presented with the Nevin Spence Men's Young Player of the Year Award. This year marks the eleventh anniversary of Nevin's passing.

Amongst those in attendance was Johnny Sexton, who accepted the Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort Moment of the Year Award on behalf of The Irish Rugby Team for the Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam.

Peter O'Mahony, Rugby Players Ireland Chairperson: said: "It is an honour to be here this evening and to celebrate the achievements of so many of our players who have demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication on and off the field. It is important we recognise the significant contribution of these players as we seek collectively to grow and reach new heights in Irish rugby."

Simon Keogh, CEO of Rugby Players Ireland commented: "Is it fantastic to see Neve, Caelan, and all our winners receive this acknowledgement from their peers after what has been an incredible year for the development and growth of Irish Rugby.

"To be honoured with a Rugby Players Ireland Award is something that our players hold proudly and regard as one of the top accolades of the sport here in Ireland. Receiving an award chosen by your fellow team-mates is the ultimate individual accolade and I would like to congratulate all our deserving winners."