Friday 21 October 2016

Vote now for AIL player of the year

Daragh Small

Published 08/05/2015 | 02:30

Galwegians' John Cleary is in the running for AIL player of the year
Galwegians' John Cleary is in the running for AIL player of the year

Supporters can now vote via Twitter for the Connacht Ulster Bank League (UBL) Player of the Year for the 2015 season.

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John Cleary (Galwegians), Diarmuid Higgins (Buccaneers), Marc Kelly (Corinthians) and James Wilson (Sligo) are all in the running from the All-Ireland League.

It was a season of thrills and spills for the Connacht clubs in the Ulster Bank League and Cleary was part of the Galwegians side that upset the odds to gain promotion to Division 1A.

It is their second successive promotion and Cleary was one of the stars of their campaign.

The winger notched both tries in their final-day victory over Garryowen which crowned them champions in the most dramatic fashion.

Tighthead prop Higgins was part of Buccaneers' 1B campaign that never really got going despite a positive showing last year where they were on the cusp of promotion only to lose in a promotion/relegation play-off against Ballynahinch.

They ultimately finished seventh in the standings after some poor performances towards the end of the season, with Galwegians' exploits eclipsing them on the provincial scene.

Corinthians were also unable to back up their heroics of last season and even though they too nearly made it to the top tier in 2014, this season was a drastic change in fortunes.

However, Kelly, who had to fill the void left by Connacht star Eoghan Masterson, was a notable performer at No 8.

Wilson played a major role for Sligo as they finished mid-table in Division 2B and next season they will take part in the newly formed Division 2C.

Chance to test your reactions

The Lifestyle Sports Connacht Rugby Reaction Challenge takes place tomorrow where you can test your reactions against some of the Connacht players.

Connacht stars Jake Heenan and Andrew Browne will be in the Galway Retail Park Lifestyle Sports outlet from 12pm until 1.30 where they will be checking out their reaction speeds and how good their hand-eye co-ordination is.

Members of the public are invited to come along and see if they have the best co-ordination in the west, with tickets to the season-ending game against Ospreys on May 16 up for grabs.

All competitors will also earn a ten percent gift card as well as the chance to win lots of prizes.

These are some of the most important skills which have been honed over years of rigorous skills sessions and drills in training for professional rugby players.

On the day they will be tested by state-of-the-art technology over a 60 second period with people of all of ages able to compete in the activities.

Some of the biggest names in sport have all previously taken this challenge including Connacht's Ireland international Robbie Henshaw, fellow internationals Gordon D'Arcy and Conor Murray, McLaren's Jensen Button, Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and the Manchester United squad.

Lifestyle Sports is the official sponsor and retail partner for Connacht Rugby. They are passionate about providing supporters with opportunities to engage with their club and also provide access to the latest jerseys, boots, equipment and merchandise.

Irish Independent

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