Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton among nominees for Player of the Year award 2 years ago

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton among nominees for Player of the Year award

An even split between Munster and Leinster.

The list of nominees for the Rugby Players Ireland end of season awards have been announced.

Reflecting the fantastic season enjoyed by Ireland and the excellent , dual trophy campaigns of Munster and Leinster, two of the four provinces dominate the nominees.

Keith Earls and Conor Murray are both up for Zurich Players' Player of the Year, with the Leinster pair of Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong joining them on the final shortlist.

Earls, who visited The Hard Yards studio to promote the Zurich-sponsored awards, said:

"It's an honour to be nominated by my fellow players for the 2018 Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award, alongside my teammates and friends. Tadhg, Conor and Johnny have had stand out performances so I’m delighted to be there alongside them.

"Whilst it’s fantastic to be celebrating some fantastic moments this season like the Grand Slam, we’re conscious that we’ve got the closing stages of the Guinness PRO14 ahead – there’s still a lot to play for. To see so many exceptional young players shortlisted for the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year Award really points to a strong future for Irish rugby – and even bigger and better seasons ahead."

As Earls mentioned, there are some outstanding nominees in the Young Player category - Leinster's Jordan Larmour and James Ryan, with Jacob Stockdale of Ulster rounding out the trio.

ZURICH PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018

  • Keith Earls (Munster)
  • Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
  • Conor Murray (Munster)
  • Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)

NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018

  • Jordan Larmour (Leinster)
  • James Ryan (Leinster)
  • Jacob Stockdale (Ulster)

BNY MELLON WOMEN’S XVs PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018

  • Katie Fitzhenry
  • Ciara Griffin
  • Claire Molloy

The awards ceremony will take place in Dublin next month.