Gerard P Maher 1954 – 2013 (ARLB)
Leinster Rugby was numbed to learn of the sudden death of Gerry Maher former President of the Association of Referees Leinster Branch while on a family visit to New York on Friday October 11th.
Gerry’s love of rugby started when he was a student in Cistercian College Roscrea 1967 – 1972. When he joined the teaching staff in 1977 his interest expanded into refereeing and he was a familiar figure on the schools playing fields all over Leinster where he could be found most Wednesday afternoons.
Gerry was a member Roscrea Rugby Club and held the position of club President from 1998 to 2000 during the 50th anniversary of the club.
Gerry joined the ARLB and went on to referee at A.I.L. level and was also a member of our referee exchange programme and officiated at matches in Liverpool, Manchester and London. He has the distinction of refereeing 3 Provincial Towns Cup finals, the 1993 final and reply and the 1996 final.
But certainly Gerry’s greatest strength in the ARLB was his administration and communication skills and he was the main force behind the 5 year programme which upgraded our rules and regulations. Our methods of referees and assessors education were up graded and new rules of governance were adopted which brought the ARLB into the 21st century and is the envy of other rugby refereeing groups worldwide.
Gerry was one of three IRB accredited match official trainers in Ireland and has delivered course in such diverse places as Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, and Bosnia Herzegovina. His SWOT analysis workshop will always be remembered for it’s in depth look at all aspects of a referee’s career both on and off the pitch, all our national panel referees will have come under his radar during their career.
The highlight of the refereeing calendar in Leinster is the annual laws seminar every August, where Gerry held the position of MC and ran the event to precision and always finished on time 330pm just in time for the throw in of the All Ireland Hurling final and if Tipperary were playing is was a 3pm finish.
Gerry’s ability to impart his knowledge was not alone for the ARLB, his knowledge and use of the English lanauge was second to none and his famous after dinner speeches always brought the house down and nobody in attendance was safe from his quick wit.
During the last number of years Gerry reignited his passion for rugby by attending his beloved Munster matches and St Mary’s Rugby Club in Dublin with his wife Ann where the good old days of refereeing were relived on more than one occasion.
All his friends in the Cistercian College Past Pupil’s Union, Roscrea Rugby Club, Roscrea Golf Club and Association of Referees Leinster Branch will sadly miss Gerry.
The large gathering at his funeral is a testament to the high regard Gerry was held in by all the Irish rugby population.
May we offer our condolences to Gerry’s wife Ann, his son Gerard, daughters Ciara, Fiona, their mother Mary, brother Ned, sister Fina, mother Maisie and loving granddaughter Cate.
May he rest in peace.