Leinster Match Program – Article 7

2013 A Year Refereeing.
This article appeared in the Ulster match program.

2013 Started off with a bang. Helen O’Reilly was selected to referee two games in the RBS Women’s 6 Nations (England V Italy, France V Scotland). International debut, Ireland v Spain, done in January and she has gone from strength to strength. Helen, 36, works as a Civil Servant and lives in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. She is a member of Ashbourne Rugby Football Club and joined the Leinster Rugby Referees in 2011. Since joining she has quickly moved through the ranks and regularly officiates at Junior 1 and Senior Level across the province. She is going to have a great 2014.

We were very pleased to advise that the IRFU Referee Committee added Dudley Philips to the IRFU Level 1 Contracted Group, with immediate effect in January. This very well merited promotion was the result of consistent appointments and quality performance levels in European competitions. Jim Breen, President of the Leinster Rugby Referees congratulated Dudley saying that it is “Great news and great to see him move onwards and upwards!.” Dudley has had a great 2013 refereeing and touch judging internationally. He also managed to stop a 30 man brawl in Georgia.

Congrats to David Williams and former Leinster referee Glenn Sheridan who were promoted to the IRFU Referees Panel this year. Congrats also to Nigel Correll and Gary Conway who were given IRFU contracts. Finally congrats to Gary Glennon and Dermot Blake who were promoted to the ‘A’ panel.

Our AGM was held in April. Peter Donnelly (St Marys College) was elected President of the association. Pat Carolan (Wicklow) was elected Senior Vice President and Wayne Sheridan (Old Wesley) was elected Junior Vice President. Pierce Fitzpatrick took over from Tom Touhy as Honorary Secretary. Tom had given many years to this position and served the association diligently in his time. Conor Byrne took over from David Robb as a former referee. Graeme Douglas took over from Mark Power as North East Rep. He has found his feet and is doing a great job. Mark is now chair of the Finance Committee. Brendan Conroy came back and took over from Ronnie McCann in the North Midlands.

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 Lansdowne FC under the shadow of the Aviva Stadium on Saturday March 23rd. There are three main awards, one for lifetime achievement, one for referee of 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. This year’s winner was Tom Aplin. Tom has been the Leinster Representative to the IRFU Referee Committee for many’s a year now. Tom devotes his time to helping referees improve their game by talking to, coaching and assessing referees at every level. The award for referee of the year is named after Harold ‘Harry’ Ardill who sadly passed away a few years ago. This year’s winner was Barry Armstrong from Terenure College RFC. Barry has been a referee for over 5 years now and in that time has greatly improved his game and is constantly looking to improve further. The Club of the Year award is named after Terry Doyle, former President of the association who died after a brave fight with cancer recently. This year’s recipients of the Terry Doyle Memorial Award were Ashbourne RFC. Helen O’Reilly was also presented with her ‘International Cap’ on the night by Tom Aplin.

We were delighted to announce that Volkswagen Ireland signed a deal to become the official sponsors of the Leinster Rugby Referees in July. The signing marks the start of a three year deal that will see the Volkswagen logo displayed on all Leinster Rugby Referee jerseys. You may have seen the jerseys – classy. If not check out the referee at half time.

Peter Donnelly, President Leinster Rugby Referees said “Volkswagen are a world-renowned international brand who share the same values as ourselves. We are delighted to have signed this deal with them as they have been a committed partner to Leinster Rugby in recent years and we look forward to building a strong our relationship over the coming term.”

The annual golf outing took place in Woodbrook Golf Club. The course was in excellent condition and the sun shone for the most part. Ciaran McGowan took home the winners prize for the second year in a row whilst Phil Smith took home the mugs cup. The active referee’s prize went to Donal Brady while Clive Connolly took home the visitors prize. Many thanks to Simon Owens and the admin committee for organising a great event.
It would be remiss not to mention the passing of our good friend and colleague Gerry Maher. As a long-standing member, Gerry served our Association with distinction, at all levels and in a wide variety of roles, as Referee, Assessor, Administrator and facilitator of our Annual Seminars – a role in which we all came to admire his great wit and humour, not forgetting his ability to guide us through them in a timely manner. Our Association has been enriched by his wisdom and the service he gave it.

So onwards to 2014 and the rest of the season. It should be great if the start is anything to go by. We’ll miss Roller of course.
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