The Leinster Rugby Referees have been working hard over the opening months of this season to recruit, educate and develop new match officials.
To date this season, 17 new match officials have graduated through the trainee referee process to become full members of the Leinster Rugby Referees.
These new match officials will join the 220 referees who cover games from U-13 level up to the AIL on a weekly basis, in schools and clubs across the province. They are supported by a dedicated group of mentors, evaluators, coaches and administrators who ensure they continuously develop their skills to referee.
The Leinster Rugby Referees held their latest New Referees Course on Saturday, 30 October in St Michael’s College. It was great to have 25 new trainee referees in attendance, representing schools and clubs from every corner of the province.
Seán Gallagher, Leinster Rugby’s Referee Development Manager, facilitated the course, where the trainee referees learned about the basic principles of refereeing. There were also several guest speakers – Hayley Whyte, referee administrator presented on planning and preparation for referees, Sam Holt, national panel referee presented on working as part of a match official team and Michael Kirk, Leinster Rugby Referee shared his experience of becoming a referee over the past year.
The New Referees Course is just the first step for these new trainee referees. Over the coming weekends they will be appointed to referee and touch judge age-grade matches in their area. A group of experienced mentors will attend these matches to support them as they take to the pitch for the first time.
The trainee referees will also attend follow up workshops as they learn about the more technical areas of the game. In November they will learn about scrum and lineout, in January the topic will be refereeing the breakdown and in February they will explore game management.
Once these new match officials have completed the trainee referee process, they will become full members of the Leinster Rugby Referees and begin their journey on the IRFU Referee Pathway.
Seán Gallagher, Leinster Rugby’s referee development manager said, “It is very important that we consistently recruit, educate and develop new match officials each season. Our aim is to ensure that we have enough referees to cover all the age-grade and adult games each week and to develop quality match officials who will progress through the IRFU Referee Pathway”.
“Refereeing is in a very healthy place in Leinster with 220 referees and 25 trainee referees covering matches each week. We have managed to appoint referees and touch judges to most games since the return to rugby after the pandemic. We have fallen slightly short of full coverage on a few weekends, but continued recruitment, education and development will get us back to full coverage over the coming months”.