Referees Corner – Issue 9 – 2023/24 – Bulls

April 3, 2024 in News

Welcome to another edition of Referees Corner. Todays match referee is Craig Evans. Craig began refereeing on the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2016. He has also refereed during the 2020 Olympics. He made his URC / Pro 14 refereeing debut in 2018,and was awarded his first Six Nations Championship match for the match between Italy and Ireland in the 2021 Six Nations Championship. He was appointed to the Tier One select group of referees in June 2021. Evans was voted Principality Premiership Referee of the Year in 2014 and went on to officiate at all Rugby Europe 7s tournaments as well as the Olympic qualifiers. He was previously a personal trainer before joining the WRU. This will be his 11th time refereeing Leinster, where we have had 7 wins and 2 losses with Evans in charge. He is assisted by Chis Busby and Andrew Fogarty, We wish the team well today in what should be an entertaining game.


Well done to our massive teams of referees who were involved in the schools cup finals. Sam Holt refereed the Senior Cup Final between St Michael’s College and Blackrock and what a great game of rugby it was. 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. He was selected for the IRFU National Panel in 2020 and has worked his way up to referee AIL Division 1A since then. Sam is also a regular in the professional game as an Assistant Referee at URC, Rugby Europe and EPCR level. He also officiated as an assistant referee at his first Champions Cup game in January of this year and  had the opportunity to referee an U19 international between Ireland and Japan last season.

Schools rugby is always a thoroughly enjoyable part of the season and Sam had the privilege of refereeing the JCT final in 2022 between Cistercian College, Roscrea and St. Michael’s College at Energia Park. Sam says that it is “a massive honour to be appointed to referee this season’s SCT final. Refereeing has been a fantastic way to stay involved in the game following my retirement from playing and has presented me with incredible opportunities to work at a very high level within the sport.”

Sam was assisted on the field by last years final referee Padraic Reidy, and Robbie Jenkinson. Also involved on the day were 4th and 5th officials Keith Spendlove and David Robb, TMO John Carvill, Time Keeper Gordon Murray, Assessor Peter Hudson and reserve official James Fegan.

The Junior Cup Final was refereed by Michael Forrestal and took place between St Mary’s College and Terenure College. What a great game of rugby it was with St Mary’s College coming out on top. Michael started playing rugby at the age of 10 with Coolmine RFC and played there until he was 15 when he moved to Galway. Unfortunately when he was 18 illness prevented him furthering his rugby playing and he decided to do the referee course.

Michael started his refereeing career in Connacht in 2012, and his first even game was an 1st year schools game, where he fell in love with refereeing. In 2015 he got selected to referee the JCT final in Connacht. He moved back to Dublin for work later that year. Michael joined Leinster Rugby Referees on returning to Dublin and was subsequently promoted onto the development panel. In 2019 he was selected for IPAS and was promoted to the IRFU National Panel in 2020. Last season Michael was promoted to level 2 and reached some major milestones such as a Rugby Europe appointment in the Netherlands and of course being very fortunate to referee the Leinster JCT final this year.

Michael was assisted by Ciaran O’Flynn and Keith Spendlove. The 4th and 5th officials were Simon Owens and Wayne Sheridan.


We had a great final area meeting of the year. The topic was Decision Making and the mass of attendees made the right decision in showing up.. The session  was a great opportunity for our referees to test themselves and get clarity on game scenarios including deliberate knock ons, head contacts, contests in the air, five metre scrums, and touch judging. We focused on sharpening our decision making skills as the ‘business end’ of the season approaches. Thanks to the session facilitators, Michael Forrestal, Sean Gallagher, John Carvill, Sam Holt and Padraic Rediy.


Want to get involved?

Referees provide a vital function in servicing all levels of the game. Whether you aspire to referee at the highest level or to referee locally, there is a place for you. There are excellent support structures to develop referees and a thriving social aspect too. 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 X @leinsterreferee