Lion lauded

Stephen Ferris picked up his club's most coveted prize last night, just over a week before he hopes to get his hands on the Heineken Cup. [more]

Lion lauded

Stephen Ferris picked up his club’s most coveted prize last night, just over a week before he hopes to get his hands on the Heineken Cup.

Ferris was named Heineken Personality of the Year at the annual Ulster Rugby awards dinner at the Culloden Hotel in Belfast as he and his team-mates look towards the Heineken Cup Final clash with Leinster on week on Saturday.

The Ireland and Lions blindside has been in sensational form this season, starring in his province’s surge to a first European showpiece in 13 years.

Ferris has featured in all eight of Ulster’s Heineken Cup fixtures this term, with his most memorable performance coming in the quarter-final win at Munster when an ankle injury had initially threatened to prevent him playing.

The 26-year-old has picked up three Heineken Cup Man of the Match awards and his latest accolade came as no real surprise despite it being kept secret until the announcement.

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Ferris’ current form looks like earning him a second shot at glory with the Lions next summer after his first tour was ended prematurely thanks to a knee injury.

Former club captain Chris Henry, who is hoping to recover from a shin injury to be fit for the final, beat off competition from John Afoa and Paddy Wallace to be named the club’s player of the year, while scrum-half Paul Marshall won the most improved player award.

Wing Craig Gilroy picked up the young player gong a month after his stunning individual try laid the platform for the win over Munster at Thomond Park and No8 Pedrie Wannenburg was the supporters’ choice as he gets set for his last Ulster appearance before heading to Castres next season.

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