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16th Apr 2015

Robbie Henshaw up against Paul O’Connell as IRUPA announce award nominees

Paulie and Robbie celebrate defeating England

Patrick McCarry

The big question is, ‘Who is picking the music for this shindig?’

Paul O’Connell jokes that the music – all 1980s classics – at Robbie Henshaw’s 21st must have been selected for his benefit.

The 35-year-old and Henshaw, 14 years his junior, will be partying together, in Dublin, next month as they attend the 2015 Irish Rugby Union Players Association awards dinner.

O’Connell and Henshaw are nominated for IRUPA Player of the Year, along with Ireland teammates Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

Given Ireland’s Six Nations success, Joe Schmidt’s go-to men dominate the lists.

CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy have been impressive, for Munster and Ulster respectively, but their provinces not reaching the Champions Cup knock-out stages has surely not aided their cause.

CJ Stander and Paul O'Connell celebrates after the game 8/12/2013

Henshaw features in the Young Player of the Year shake-up and is a strong favourite to capture his third such accolade in a row. He faces competition from Leinster’s Jack Conan and Jack McGrath.

Callum Black [Ulster], Darragh Fanning [Leinster] and Denis Hurley [Munster] are the trio up for IRUPA 3 Unsung Hero Award.

There is another award, which recognises the club-man role – a player that brings the same commitment to training and off-field duties that he does on the pitch. The nominees for that prize are Chris Henry [Ulster], Felix Jones [Munster] and the retiring Michael Swift [Connacht].

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