This article appeared in the Treviso match program.
2015/16 Season Review.
At the start of last season Wayne Sheridan of Old Wesley RFC was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees. Wayne, a current active citing commissioner on the PRO 12 and European circuit is a former IRFU National Panel referee and father to Glenn who is currently on the National Panel (albeit in Connacht, but we won’t hold that against him). Gary Conway started the season refereeing at the World Rugby U20 Championship. Dudley Phillips was busy at the Pacific Nations Cup where he touch judged a number of games. Tim Townend who was promoted to the IRFU National Referees panel and Helen O’Reilly who was promoted to the ‘A’ Panel in the summer panel appointments. It was also a busy summer for out kit men – Dan Wallace and Kevin Beggs with the help, as always of Denis Collins. We were delighted to welcome Bank of Ireland on board as our new kit sponsor.
The season kicked off with our annual seminar on August 16th in Old Wesley RFC. 175 plus referees attended the day, one of our largest attendances to date showing the increase popularity in refereeing within Leinster and the excellent work done by the IRFU Recruitment officers and area representatives. David O’Brien conducted the pre-Season presentation and the key points and focus areas for referees this season. We had our tradition golf outing during the summer in St Anne’s Golf Club on Dublin Bay although the conditions were more wintery, a great day was enjoyed by all. Pat Carolan was the Brindley cup winner with 37 points on the day with Brian MacNeice active referee winner and Paul Delaney was visitor winner
On Sunday 11th October the IRFU ran a superb Festival for 32 teams at Lansdowne Road and invited Leinster Rugby Referees to supply Referees – 8 attended and blew their whistle including the President Wayne Sheridan. Wayne is the only current President of the Leinster Rugby Referees to referee on main Pitch in the Aviva and possibly Lansdowne Road.
The European Season kicked off in October and a number of our referees featured both as referees and assistant referee including Dudley Philips, Gary Conway, Nigel Correll, John Carvill, Paul Haycock, Kevin Beggs and Brian MacNeice. World Rugby unveiled the appointments for the RBS Women’s 6 Nations. Leinsters Helen O’Reilly refereed Scotland v France on March 11th. Leinster Rugby Referee old boy Colm Roche was selected in the panel of World Rugby referees for the Dubai 7’s. Colm was assistant referee for the World Rugby 7’s World Series competition in Dubai and officiated at the invitational tournament in Dubai also.
Leinster Rugby Referees held ‘An Evening with Alain Rolland’ in Clontarf FC on Tuesday 8th December organized by PRO Dan Wallace and Metro Representative Thomas Keating. Alain has had a hugely successful refereeing career – a World Cup Final, Heineken Cup finals, countless European games and of course 40 plus Leinster and 3 Irish caps. Alain spoke about his rugby career, his accidental move into an amazing refereeing career and his life, as portrayed in his fabulous book – The Whistle Blower: The Alain Rolland Story.
The dust settled on the Bank of Ireland sponsored Leinster Schools Senior and Junior Cups in March. Well done to Belvedere College and Blackrock College on great wins. Of course these great finals could not have happened without some great refereeing. There was a team of seven involved in the Senior Cup Final in the RDS. Congratulations to Dermot Blake on a fine game and a well-deserved appointment. Dermot was assisted by Paul Haycock and Brian Montayne, Simon Owens and Mark Power were the 4th and 5th officials , Kevin Beggs was in the TMO box and Tom Aplin was the match assessor. For the Junior Cup final there was a team of five in place. Gary Glennon was the referee for the game between St Michaels College and Blackrock College, with Chris Reynolds and Bernie White on the line. Susan Carty and Kevin Bolger were 4th and 5th officials.
Leinsters Helen O’Reilly has made rugby history by becoming the first female to officiate in the Guinness Pro12. Helen ran the line on Friday 25th March in Munster’s game with Zebre at Thomond Park. Last year Helen became the first woman to officiate a UBL game and also refereed at the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Helen , who has risen swiftly through the ranks and was appointed to the Irish Rugby Football Union’s national referee panel in December 2014. A referee breaking new ground in the game of rugby, she has previously refereed at the Women’s Rugby World Cup and in Ulster Bank League matches in Ireland which is a level below the Pro12.Her appearance on the line in Munster’s 47-0 thrashing of Zebre means she is now one step closer to taking charge of a game in the cross-border competition.
The annual dinner of the Leinster Rugby Referees is the highlight of our somewhat limited social calendar and is always a great event. This year it took place in Wanderers FC on Saturday April 16th was hosted by Leinster Rugby Referees President Wayne Sheridan of Old Wesley RFC. On the night our much anticipated annual awards are handed out. Brendan Jenkinson of Terenure College RFC won the lifetime achievement award. Brendan Conroy of Athy RFC won the Harry Ardil award. Terenure College RFC won the club of the year award and Dermot Blake won the referee of the year award. Norman Carter was also rewarded for his years of hard work, receiving the Beauchamps Special Merit Award at the Leinster Gala Ball.
What a great season, on to 2016/17 with President David MacDonald leading the way.