Legendary Lions fly-half Jack Kyle was honoured at last night’s annual RTE Sports Awards.
The 85-year-old, who is widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest player, was handed the RTÉ/Irish Sports Council Hall of Fame Award at a ceremony in Dublin.
Kyle toured New Zealand and Australia with the Lions in 1950 and is still seen by many Aussies and Kiwis as the most accomplished Lion ever to grace their shores.
A complete all-round footballer, Kyle was also a key member of Ireland’s first Grand Slam winning side in 1948 and a Triple Crown winner in 1949.
Fittingly, the Belfast-born playmaker was presented with his award by fellow Lion Brian O’Driscoll, one of the few men to be held in similar esteem to the qualified surgeon and former Queen’s University, North of Ireland FC and Ulster star.
O’Driscoll was also a winner at the awards dinner as he and his Leinster team-mates picked up the Team of the Year crown.
Leinster claimed a second Heineken Cup title with a stunning comeback win over Northampton in Cardiff in May and also reached the final of the Magners League where they narrowly lost out to Munster.
O’Driscoll was joined by Leinster skipper Leo Cullen, Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa to accept the award for a year in which Leinster surged to the top of the ERC rankings and cemented themselves as one of the most impressive outfits in the professional era.
Other winners on the night included Major-winning golfer Rory McIlroy, who claimed the biggest prize of RTE Sports Person of the Year, and Republic of Ireland football manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who was named RTÉ Sports Manager of the Year after he led his team to their first international tournament finals since 2002.