Kearney wins Euro Player of Year
Ireland full-back Rob Kearney, an integral part of Leinster's European Cup-winning team, was on Monday named European Player of the Year for the 2011/12 season.
The 26-year-old, capped 38 times by Ireland and three times by the British and Irish Lions, beat off competition from club-mate Jonathan Sexton, Ulster duo Stephen Ferris and Ruan Pienaar, and English veteran Jonny Wilkinson.
Kearney started every one of Leinster's nine European games as the Irish province triumphed in the European Cup for an unprecedented third time in four years with their 42-14 victory over Ulster on the weekend.
The fullback, who succeeds teammate Sean O'Brien as the winner of northern hemisphere rugby's ultimate individual accolade, scored six tries during the campaign and put in a series of consistently high performances.
"It really is an honour to have won this award," said Kearney. "While I am delighted with the recognition, an individual player is powerless without the support of his teammates.
"So I owe this to the Leinster squad, to the management and to all the backroom staff at the club."