Referees Corner – Issue 13 – Connacht – 2023/24

June 4, 2024 in News

Welcome to another edition of referees corner. A warm welcome to a fantastic team of referees from the IRFU led by Chris Busby. Chris will be ably assisted by Eoghan Cross, Jonathan Erskine, John Carvill, Mark Gargan, TMO Colin Stanley and TK Dan Wallace for this hugely anticipated game between Leinster and Connacht. 


Chris is a member of Ireland’s referee High Performance Panel alongside Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy and Eoghan Cross. He went through the USRFR pathway and onto the IRFU National Panel in a few years. Busby, born in Antrim, County Antrim, has been refereeing for over 8 years. He made his Pro14 refereeing debut on 9 October 2020 refereeing the match between Zebre and Dragons. He was one of the Irish referees selected as a match official for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He described his appointment as a surreal experience. We wish them all well today and wish Chris continued success.


Annual Dinner

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 The Pavillion, Trinity College on Saturday May 18th and was hosted by Leinster Rugby Referees President Tom Tuohy.

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 refereeing great Ham Lambert. Ham was an Irish cricketer, rugby union player and later international rugby referee. This year’s winner was Denis Collins of Seapoint RFC who has devoted over 25 years to the association both as an administrator, assessor, evaluator and referee. Denis has supported and help guide many referees during their careers. He follows a long line of winners including David MacDonald, Peter Donnelly, Brendan Jenkinson, Tom Aplin, Des McCabe, and Brian Pender to name a few and is thoroughly deserving of this award.

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 John S Dunne. John officiates at all levels, helps out greatly with our refereeing panels, supports the referee development program 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 Athy RFC. Other winners of this award include Balbriggan RFC, Coolmine, Old Wesley, Greystones, Terenure College, Lansdowne, Ashbourne, and Skerries. Athy were clear winners amongst the active referee population of the association, who vote on this award. 

The Alain Rolland Referee Performance of the Year was won by Sam Holt. Sam has had a fantastic season. Sam refereed the Senior Cup Final between St Michael’s College and Blackrock and what a great game of rugby it was. He was also involved in a host of other high profile games at home and abroad, and has delivered a high standard of officiating. Sam was educated at Maynooth Post Primary and joined the Leinster Rugby Referees in the 2013/2014 season having previously retired from playing due to injury. Well done Sam. 

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. This year’s winner was Jack MacNeice. Jack is a relative newcomer to refereeing but has progressed quickly and has had a great season. He is one to watch for the future. 

Presentations were also made to Brian MacNeice for his appointment to the Rugby World Cup and to Barry Armstrong who steps down as Honorary Secretary after a number of seasons.

Want to get involved? 

Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees at  If you are interested in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our Facebook, our website or through twitter @leinsterreferee.