A warm welcome to another edition of referees corner. A special welcome also to the refereeing team from the RFU of Luke Pearce, assisted by Dan Jones and Jamie Leahy and the TMO is Andrew Jackson. John Carvill is No 4, Mark Gargan is No 5 and the Timekeeper is Dan Wallace.
Luke joined the Devon Referee Society in 2005 at the age of 16. He previously played rugby at junior level, being part of the Exeter Saracens Rugby Club and captained a Welsh Exiles Under-16’s team. In September 2005, Luke refereed his first game, Crediton Seconds against Newton Abbot Thirds. From there, Luke quickly went through the referee system, becoming the youngest referee to be promoted to the RFU National panel in 2009.
In September 2011, Luke took charge of his first Premiership match, officiating Gloucester’s home game against Worcester Warriors. That same season, he debuted on the World Sevens Series and since then has appeared in nine series tournaments.
In November 2011, he took charge of his first European game, referring Stade Français’s victory over București Wolves during the 2011–12 European Challenge Cup. In February 2013, he refereed his first international, taking charge of Romania against Russia in the European Nations Cup. Later that year, he was appointed by World Rugby to officiate in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France. In 2014, Luke made his first Six Nations Championship appearance, acting as Assistant Referee for Steve Walsh in the meeting between Italy and Scotland. In the 2018 mid-year rugby union internationals, he took charge of his first tier 1 international of New Zealand vs France.
This is his 8th time refereeing Leinster, his last being Leinster v Racing 92 in Paris last December. His first time was Ulster v Leinster in 2014.
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 Green Isle Hotel on Saturday March 25th and was hosted by Leinster Rugby Referees President Gordon Condell.
On the night our much anticipated annual awards are handed out. There are five main awards, one for lifetime achievement, one for referee of the year, another for refereeing performance of the year, one for the referee who progressed the most during the year and one for club of the year.
The lifetime achievement award is named after Ham Lambert who passed away a few years ago. Ham was an Irish cricketer, rugby union player and later international rugby referee. By profession a veterinary surgeon, he was noted for being the first in Ireland to own a practice devoted to the care of companion animals. This year’s winner was David MacDonald of Seapoint RFC who has devoted a number of years to the association. As well as being a former president of the association (2016/17) he is chairman of our management committee, an unenviable task. He follows a long line of winners including Peter Donnelly, Brendan Jenkinson, Tom Aplin, Des McCabe, and Brian Pender to name a few.
The award for referee of the year is named after Harold ‘Harry’ Ardill. Harry was instrumental in developing, recruiting and educating referees within Leinster. The referee of the year award accounts for both on field and off field efforts and contribution to the association. This year’s award went to long serving member Trevor McHugh. Trevor officiates at all levels and is always there when needed, another tireless servant to the referees.
The Club of the Year award is named after Terry Doyle, former President of the association and was presented by his wife Deirdre. The award was named after Terry in 2011 and the first recipients were Edenderry RFC. This year’s recipients of the Terry Doyle Memorial Award were first time winners Balbriggan RFC. In a tightly fought contest they came out above last year’s winner Old Wesley (2nd), and Barnhall (3rd). Other winners of this award include Coolmine, Old Wesley, Greystones, Terenure College, Lansdowne, Ashbourne, and Skerries. Balbriggan were clear winners amongst the active referee population for both their captains and players attitudes and their off field facilities and welcome.
The Alain Rolland Referee Performance of the Year was won last year by Robbie Jenkinson. This year’s winner was Padraic Reidy. Padraic has had a fantastic season. Early in the year he was promoted into the Level 1 Panel of the IRFU. His season culminated in the Leinster School Senior Cup Final, which he refereed brilliantly, between Gonzaga and Blackrock. He also refereed the Bateman Cup Final between Terenure College and Buccaneers and was involved in a host of other high profile games. Well done Padraic.
The last award of the night was the Denis Collins Perpetual Award for Progressive Referee. Presented by the great man himself, this award is for the referee who was seen to progress the most during the season, and has shown themselves to have put in time and effort into their own development. No one encouraged referees more in his time as referee administrator than Denis Collins. Last year Mitch Enderby won the trophy and he has had a fantastic season. This year’s winner was Ciaran O’Flynn. Ciaran has had a great season and is quickly rising through the ranks of Leinster Rugby Referees. May he continue to do so.
With only a few weeks left in the season we are immensely proud of the work that has been put in by referees at all levels this season and look forward to moving onwards in the 2022/23 season.
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