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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
Bryn runs off with big prize
Bryn Cunningham receives his awrd from Head of Marketing for the Bank of Ireland, Colm McKenna
Bryn Cunningham recevies his award from Colm McKenna
Bryn Cunningham was named as Ulster Player of the Year at the annual Guinness awards in Belfast on Thursday night.

Cunningham, who played for Ireland 'A' this season, pipped scrum-half Neil Doak, flanker Neil McMillan and prop Robbie Kempson for the big prize.

However, there was compensation for Kempson with the South African landing the Club Ulster Supporters award.

Allen Clarke, the former international hooker won the Guinness Personality of the Year, while Ballymena took the club prize following their All-Ireland title last weekend.

Cunningham, however, was a worthy recipient of the major prize following a consistent season with the Ulster side.

Drafted in at full-back following the serious injury to Paddy Wallace, the 25-year-old Dungannon player was a rejuvenated player with a number five-star performances.

His play this season was rewarded with an Irish Trial recently.

''There were a lot of other worthy recepients for this award, and am delighted to have won it this season,'' said Cunningham.

''I got my chance when Paddy Wallace was injured, and I just played one match at a time, and everything turned out well.''

Kempson was a popular choice as the fans choice.

Back in Cape Town where he is playing for the Stormers Super 12 side while on loan to the South African Rugby Union, Kempson spoke to the large audience via telephone link.

FOrmer Ireland and Ulster hooker Allen Clarke now in charge of Elite Development
Allen Clarke (left) and Guinness representative Terry Laughlins
''It's a great honour for me to be given this award,'' he said.

''I've had a wonderful time in Ulster, and after the World Cup, I will be back playing for Ulster and hopefully help them to success in the Heineken Cup.''

Clarke's prize was awarded for the work that the former international hooker has done in handling the best up-and-coming talent in the province.

As Director of Elite Player Development, Clarke is responsible for not only the rugby lives of the young players, but also their academic career.

Other winners included Andrew Trimble, the Coleraine AI centre who picked up the Renault Schools' Player of the Year.

Trimble played for Ulster and was a member of the successful Ireland Schools' side.

Long-serving Ards member Ivan Coffey won the Dorrington B Faulkner Award and Portadown's Tom McGaw lifted the Northern Bank Coach of the Year.

Guinness Rugby Award Winners

Ulster Player of the Year:
Bryan Cunningham.
Personality of the Year:
Allen Clarke.
Club Ulster Supporters Player of the Year:
Robbie Kempson.
Schools' Player of the Year:
Andrew Trimble.
Club Team of the Year:
Dorrington Faulkner Award:
Ivan Coffey.
Club PRO
John Dickson
Youth Player of the Year.
Stephen Ferris.
Coach of the Year.
Tom McGaw.
Club of the Year
Merit Awards:
Scott Gardiner, Monaghan Rugby Club.

Ulster's Player of the Year Bryn Cunningham
''It's nice to follow some famous names''

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