Munster lock Paul O’Connell voted the IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year at the 4th annual Rugby Players’ Awards Dinner.

O’Connell was award the prize by his fellow players and held-off competition from Felipe Contepomi and Denis Leamy.

The awards were held to celebrate a year of individual achievements in Irish rugby in what was another successful season which saw Ireland win the Triple Crown for the second time in two years, Munster reaching the final of the Heineken Cup & three of the four provinces fighting to win the Celtic League title.

The 26-year-old O’Connell, who this season played a pivotal part in Munster qualifying for their third Heineken Cup final since 2000, was previously nominated for the award in both 2004 and 2005. 
O’Connell was handed the man of the match award in the recent Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Leinster, the penultimate challenge on route to the final in Cardiff.

Past winners of the accolade include Gordon D’Arcy (2) and Johnny O’Connor.