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. Last year was another hugely successful year for the Leinster Rugby Referees. We’re half way through our 2015/16 season and already a number of new referees have passed their trials and embarked on a new refereeing. Our organization is continually growing learning and improving and we look forward to 2016, 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 Wayne Sheridan, Brian MacNeice, Mark Power, Simon Owens, Denis Collins and of course the area representatives – Graeme Douglas, Brendan Conroy, Norman Carter, Simon Porter and Thomas Keating amongst others.
One of the first things most referees look forward to after the Christmas period is the Leinster Schools Senior and Junior Challenge Cups. The draw in December kicks this off, but it is the selection of referees that is greatly anticipated. Refereeing a schools cup game, be it in Donnybrook, the RDS, or any other club in Leinster is one of the highlights or any referees career. It is such a fantastic competition, steeped in history and always an emotional occasion for all involved. This year the final was refereed by Dudley Phillips from St Mary’s College RFC. He has been refereeing since 2003. He is a member of the IRFU National Panel for over 10 years and has represented the Leinster Rugby Referees both at home and abroad. This year’s schools cup final was his second time officiating in the decider. The touch judges on the day were Gary Glennon and Sean Gallagher. A superb game was played out with CC Roscrea running out the eventual winners.
Helen O’Reilly was appointed to referee the Schools Junior Cup Final between Terenure College and Blackrock College. Helen, fresh off a successful run of 6 Nations appointments has been refereeing since 2010 and it was her first appointment to the game.
The annual dinner of the Leinster Rugby Referees was one of the highlights of our somewhat limited social calendar and was, as always a great event. This year it took place in Lansdowne FC under the shadow of the Aviva Stadium on Saturday March 28th and was hosted by Leinster Rugby Referees President Pat Carolan of Wicklow RFC. For some reason the dinner always seems to coincide with the clocks going forward, perhaps to ensure the bar closes early and referees are in bed for their games on the Sunday. This year’s winner of the ‘Ham Lambert’ lifetime achievement award was Tony De Lacy, Paddy Curran of Roscrea took home the Harold ‘Harry’ Ardill referee of the year award, Helen O’Reilly took home the Alain Rolland Referee of the Year Trophy for refereeing performances on the field and St Marys College RFC won the Terry Doyle club of the year award.
In May, 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. Wayne replace Pat Carolan of Wicklow RFC who had a fantastic year in office.
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. David ‘John Daly’ Petherbridge won the longest drive with a monster that Bubba would have been proud of and Kevin Beggs won the Muggs Cup.
So there you have some highlights from 2015, we’re looking forward to an even more successful 2016 both on and off the field.
The Leinster Referees always need more referees and opting to become one may be the best decision you’ve made for a long time. If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook and Google + pages, our website www.arlb.ie or through twitter @leinsterreferee.
Finally congratulations to Helen O’Reilly on her recent engagement.