'We have had our challenges and some sad days along the way' - Conor Murray reflects on year after picking up top gong
Conor Murray was last night hailed by his fellow Irish professionals for a stellar season in Irish green and Munster red by being named the Zurich Players' Player of the Year.
The scrum-half, who is also set to be an automatic first-choice when Warren Gatland selects his Lions Test team next month, returned to action following shoulder trouble last week as his side set their sights on finishing a traumatic season by lifting the Guinness PRO12 championship.
"It has been an incredible season and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed," said the 28-year-old Limerick man at the glittering Rugby Players Ireland awards ceremony in Dublin, as he reflected on a campaign which saw the province struck by the tragic loss of their head coach Anthony Foley.
"We have had our challenges and some sad days along the way, but to have both Munster and Ireland performing at the highest level has been very satisfying," he said. "Being recognised in this way by my peers is special - I just hope that I can continue to do my job in the important games that are to come."
Murray won the award ahead of Munster team-mate CJ Stander and Leinster's Robbie Henshaw, while another nominee and prospective Lions starter, Tadhg Furlong, took home Supporters' Player of the Year 2017.
Garry Ringrose was named as the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year 2017. The Zurich Contribution to Irish Society was presented to both Hannah Tyrrell and Jake Heenan in recognition of their work in their respective communities.
The BNY Mellon Women's XVs Player of the Year 2017 was presented to Lindsay Peat for several outstanding performances in what is a momentous year for the women's game in Ireland.
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe claimed the Mason Alexander Women's 7s Player of the Year.
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