Leinster Match Program – Article 2

The new season kicked off on the golf course rather than the rugby pitch. On August 31st we held the combined Leinster Rugby / Leinster Rugby Referees golf outing in Milltown Golf Club. A cracking day was had by all, and the weather played its part too with a beautiful sunny day. We had 21 members and 4 guests playing in Milltown GC.

The Brindley Cup was won by Brendan Lynch with 38 points and followed closely by Mark Gargan (37 points), Peter Donnelly (33) and Bryan O’Neill (31). It is not Brendan’s first time lifting the trophy and he played some magnificent golf.  David Bolger with 34 points won the Jim Dolan Memorial Plate for the best placed active member of the ARLB. Our appreciation is due to Simon ‘Nigel’ Owens who arranged the outing in conjunction with the Leinster Branch’s own competition. Conor Byrne in his presidential speech thanked all for attending and appealed to other members to support the event in the future.

Leinster Match Program Article 1

After another busy season in Leinster, the summer break was a welcome relief for all. At the end of last season Conor Byrne was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees taking over from David MacDonald.  Conor addressed the referees AGM after his election saying :

“I am indeed extremely honoured to be elected President of the Association of Referees Leinster Branch for the 2017/18 season an Association that has been an integral part of my life over many years.  Ours is an Association that is held in high esteem both far and wide and one which has and continues to make an extraordinary contribution to the very fabric of our sport.

Leinster Match Program – Article 14

Welcome to another high quality edition of referees corner. If you have missed any issue, they are all available on our website www.arlb.ie. Croeso and Pob Iwc! to Nigel Owens  and his Welsh Rugby Union colleagues Ian Davies and TMO Jonathon Mason and a hearty Bonjour to our good friend Romain Poite of the Fédération Française de Rugby.

We hope you have an enjoyable afternoon gentlemen and manage to get the game finished on 80 minutes with all ball boys on the field. Of course congratulations to Romain, will referee the third and final Test match between the Lions and New Zealand this summer.

Well done also to Helen O’Reilly refereed Italy v France in the Women’s Six Nations a couple of weeks ago.

Schools Rugby

The dust has settled on the Bank of Ireland sponsored Leinster Schools Senior and Junior Cups. Well done to Belvedere College on a great win in the Senior Cup. We are awaiting the replay of the Junior Cup at time of writing following the excellent 7-7 draw in the first final. Of course these great finals could not have happened without some great refereeing. There was a team of six involved in the Senior Cup Final in the RDS. Congratulations to Paul Haycock on a fine game and a well-deserved appointment. Paul was assisted by Barry O’Keeffe and David Williams, Barry Armstrong and Jonathon Geoghegan , John Carvill was in the TMO box . For the Junior Cup final Brian MacNeice was in the middle for an enthralling fixture played in difficult conditions.

Leinster Match Program – Article 13

Cardiff Firstly good luck to our extensive team of 6 at the SCT Challenge Cup Final. Referee: Paul Haycock, Sub Referee: Barry O’Keeffe, Touch Judge: David Williams, No.4 : Barry Armstrong, No.5: Jonathon Geoghegan and TMO:...

Leinster Match Program – Article 12

This article appeared in the Scarlets PRO 12 Match Day Program

It is our busiest time of year with schools cup, towns cup and leagues coming to an end. The Leinster Schools Senior cup, sponsored by our own sponsors Bank of Ireland,  moved into the quarter final stages last week and there were a number of great games. The appointments were as follows:

Gonzaga v Roscrea – Brendan Cutriss

Clongowes v St Mary’s College – Cillian Hogan

Blackrock College v  Terenure College – Brian McNiece

Belvedere v St Michaels – Helen O’Reilly.

Well done to all referees on great performances. The cup now moves into the semi-final phase.  After defeating Roscrea in an 11-try thriller to qualify for their first ever Senior Cup semi-final, Gonzaga were the first team out of the hat. They were drawn against Blackrock College, the school with more Senior Cup titles to their name than any other.  This meant the two teams left were the holders, Belvedere College, and 2014 finalists, Clongowes Wood College.

Leinster Match Program Article 11

Recruits Day


We’ve had a busy start to the year in Leinster Rugby Referees HQ. On January 21st we ran our first recruitment course of 2017, in Terenure College. We had 24 eager new recruits attend the day long session.  David O’Brien, the IRFU referee officer for Leinster was the main presenter on the day with our Vice President Conor Byrne welcoming the group in the morning.  The main topics that David covered were broken into two components.  The morning session saw us cover Game Management. This included: player safety / welfare, control, communication, materiality and advantage.  The afternoon session saw us cover the technical modules such as scrum, lineout, the breakdown and offside.

Leinster Match Program – Article 10

An extremely warm welcome to today’s match official JP Doyle.  It is widely known that JP is a Dubliner and a referee who has consistently improved and moved up the referee ladder since his move to the RFU many many years ago. It is great to see him in the RDS today. I remember him refereeing on the hallowed surface of Terenure College many years ago as I plied my trade on the adjoining pitch. Obviously JP ended up being the better referee, but then again he doesn’t write great article. A warm welcome to his assistants also, Wayne Barnes, Simon McConnell  and Stuart Terheege. Have a great game gentlemen.

Leinster Match Program – Article 9

This article appeared in the Zebra Match Program

What another great year for Leinster Rugby Referees. It is great to get the Christmas and New Year celebrations over and done with for another year and get back into some refereeing, although some of our referees have been in action over the festive period. We’re half way through our 2016/17 season and already a number of new referees have passed their trials and embarked on a new refereeing career. Our organization is continually growing learning and improving and we look forward to 2017, and delivering more top quality referees and assessors to Leinster and the world.

None of this would be possible without the hard work and leadership of our executive committee, the management and sub-committees especially President David MacDonald, Mark Power, Simon Owens, Denis Collins and of course the area representatives – Graeme Douglas, Brendan Conroy, John Dunne, Simon Porter and Thomas Keating among others.

Leinster Match Program – Article 8

This article appeared in the Ulster Match Day Program

So what is it like starting out as a referee? Learning to referee rugby games is largely a trial by fire process. On the field there is only one referee (although there may be a few on the sidelines), that referee cannot change a decision once made, and no-one else can help you (although they can complain.)

To start, you need a whistle obviously, a watch, a law book, a few cards red and yellow in colour, a thick skin, and a love for the game of rugby. You’d be surprised how often referees forget things like whistles and cards running on to the pitch. You get caught up trying to get everything else right and forget the minor, import details. The law book should be read and then enforced more than the traffic laws in Dublin, but less than the traffic laws in Germany. A love for the game of rugby gets one through times that one’s skin is not sufficiently thick. The first place a referee will try using a whistle and a new understanding of the game from having actually read the law book (which most of us never did while we were playing), is during a club practice. Learning how to watch the game as a referee; find ways to stay close to, but out of the way of, play; get used to blowing a whistle and starting play are important aspects of growing into refereeing. In Leinster we start referees off with underage, youth’s games. It gives them a feel for the game at a slower pace with often more obedient subjects, although the sidelines can be the hardest bit to overcome.

Leinster Match Program – Article 7

This article appeared in the Northampton Saints match day program.

A warm welcome to Romain Poite and his team of Tual Trainini, Mathieu Noirot and Eric Briquet-Campin today. The Champions and Challenge Cup back to back weekend is one of the best fortnights of rugby in the year and also one of the busiest times for our referees. This weekend sees John Carvill in Glasgow assisting George Clancy, whilst Brian MacNeice is in the TMO box in Bordeaux. Dudley Phillips,      Helen O’Reilly and Kevin Beggs are in Stade Francias whilst Gary Conway is in Newcastle. Good luck to them all.

Foul Play

The IRFU’s Referees Department will place a renewed focus on existing foul play laws to remove illegal and dangerous collision based contact from domestic competitions in Ireland.

The areas of focus centre on foul play at the tackle, the breakdown and off-the-ball contact.  These offences will be upgraded to penalties and yellow or red cards depending on the severity of the incident.

The aim of this initiative is to soften the impact of the tackle and ruck or maul entry by removing shoulder first or shoulder only contact. i.e. shoulder charging with no attempt or a late attempt to wrap arms upon contact.  There will also be a renewed focus on protecting players in vulnerable or prone positions in rucks and mauls.

The law interpretations will be enforced in all competitions from U13 age grade through to the Ulster Bank League. Under the umbrella of the Ref SMART programme a series of instruction videos have been produced to inform coaches and players of the illegal actions that will be clamped down on this season.  These videos are available online at www.irishrugby.ie/rugbysmart.