Rugby player Rob Kearney is named ERC European Player of the Year 2012

The Carlingford rugby star has won the most prestigious award for a club player in Europe

The Carlingford rugby star has won the most prestigious award for a club player in Europe

The award crowns an outstanding season for the full-back who started every one of Leinster’s nine European games as the Irish club triumphed in the Heineken Cup for an unprecedented third time in four years.

It was an extra special weekend for Kearney, having effectively missed Leinster last two Heineken Cup victories through injury. On Saturday he also had the pleasure of being able to raise the trophy with his young er brother David, who made the bench for Europe’s best team.

“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.”

Kearney scored two tries in the quarter-final victory over the Cardiff Blues, then followed that up by creating a try for Cian Healy and landing a superb drop goal in the thrilling semi-final success against ASM Clermont Auvergne, before playing a key role in Leinster’s record-breaking 42-14 final win over Ulster Rugby at Twickenham Stadium last Saturday.

Kearney was presented with his award, a specially struck gold medal, by ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath.