Referees Corner – Issue 7 – Ulster

February 8, 2021 in News

Happy 2021 to all. Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable break. 2020 started out for us on positive note with 40 plus referees attending our first recruiting seminar of the year. The course was at full capacity and was facilitated by the IRFU Referee Department. ARLB Referee Katie Byrne spoke about her recent experience as a Trial Member and her journey on to the ARLB Development Group while ARLB’s IRFU Representative David McDonald spoke about the refereeing process as a trial member. Sadly not all of them managed to get on the pitch before the first lockdown but we were delighted with their response and willingness to hold back until we could get them on the pitch.  

Our 2020 mid season seminar was held in the Green Isle Hotel on Thursday 23rd January, and was attended by over 100 referees from throughout the province. The mid season seminar was a great opportunity for referees to get together in an informal setting, to socialize and learn together. Such opportunities are rare and mainly limited to this seminar and our annual seminar in August which was an online event this year. Our monthly area meetings kicked off again in February following  the winter break. They took place in  Boyne, Lansdowne, Enniscorthy,  Tullamore and Clondalkin and were to be the last in person meetings. Some great discussions were  had  after and  were ably assisted  by our IRFU panel members  Sam  Holt, John Carvill, Michael Forrestal, Paul Haycock and  Padraic Reidy.


Following the announcement of the IRFU National Referee Panel for the 2020/2021 season in May, we were delighted to see that two more Leinster Rugby referees were added to the National Panel for the 2020/21 season. Congratulations to both Sam Holt and Michael Forrestal.  Following on from that the Interprovincial Appointments System (IPAS) referees for the coming season were also confirmed. There are three new ARLB referees on IPAS for 2020/2021. They are Kevin Beakey (Unattached), Katie Byrne (Tullamore) and Robbie Jenkinson (Skerries). Congratulations to Kevin, Katie and Robbie on their promotions and best wishes for the season ahead. And like that, the season was over.


Our AGM was delayed until September where Dave Robb was elected President of the Leinster Rugby Referees for the 2020/21. Gordon Condell of Clondalkin and Helen O’Reilly of Ashbourne were elected as Senior and Junior Vice Presidents. Dave gave a great interview in last week’s match program.


At the same meeting two legends of the whistle, Stephen Kennedy and Paul Dorman were inducted as Life Members of the Leinster Rugby Referees after many years service on and off the pitch. 


A new online initiative set up by Irish Rugby refereeing department gave referees across Ireland the chance to further their development over the summer.

The Down Time Sessions were led by IRFU Referee Development Managers, specifically Sean Gallagher and Sam Holt and featured an IRFU High Performance Referee presenting on one of four topics: Breakdown, Scrum, Positioning and Lineout/Maul. Access to the sessions were delivered through provincial association/society Honorary Secretaries, through an online platform. We also had an excellent meeting with IRFU Competitions Manager and Disciplinary Committee member  Kevin Beggs on the role of Citing in games and the detailed process behind it.

It was also great to see over 200+ referees from Leinster Rugby Referee, Munster Association of Referees, Association Of Referees Connacht Branch & the Ulster Society for Rugby Football Referee all online to watch the Irish Rugby Referee Department Seminar “Mental Skills in Rugby Refereeing” with Dr. Tadhg MacIntyre during November. The IRFU referee department is delivering some great content and credit goes to Dudley Philips and his team.


Of course , 2020 saw us lose some colleagues including Bryan Murphy of Enniscorthy, Ronnie Maher of Suttonians and Declan Mahon of Ashbourne. We offer our sympathies to their families and remember them fondly.

Here’s to 2021 and hopefully some domestic rugby and some great schools action and a chance to blow a whistle again. 

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 and Google + pages, our website or through twitter @leinsterreferee.