O'Brien scoops European honour
May 25, 2011
Sean O'Brien parades the Heineken Cup © Getty Images
Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien has been named ERC European Player of the Year.
The 24-year-old back-rower started all nine of Leinster's matches as they stormed to a second Heineken Cup title in three seasons - their mission culminating in a 33-22 victory over Northampton in the final last weekend.
O'Brien saw off competition from fellow Leinster players Jamie Heaslip and Isa Nacewa, while Saints prop Soane Tonga'uiha and Stade Francais skipper Sergio Parisse also made the shortlist.
Leinster, and O'Brien, will now turn their attention to completing a European and domestic double with victory over Munster in Saturday's Magners League final.
"It's been a fantastic year for me, and more importantly for Leinster," O'Brien said. "It's great to be presented with an award like this, but it has more to do with the team than it has to do with me. Hopefully, this is only the start rather than the end of our success in Europe, and of course, we've got another trophy to aim at this weekend."
ERC chief Derek McGrath added: "Sean was an inspirational character at the heart of the Leinster pack in their victorious Heineken Cup season and proved himself to be a major force both as a ball carrier and defender. He played across the back-row, scored vital tries and picked up three Man of the Match awards."
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