Area: Metro Dublin City and County
How many referees: 96
Clubs in region: 30 clubs ranging from Junior to Senior along with approx 65 affiliated Schools teams
Name Rep: Ken Henley-Willis
Club: No Club
Occupation: Sales Coach at Dell Computers
Status/Children: Getting married to Suzie this Christmas who has one daughter Lauren.
Referee career: Having played rugby through his school days until he was 16, Ken attended the Schools Boys Course run by Bertie Smith (ex International Referee) in Cork in 1997.
Shortly after this an IRFU Youth Panel of Referees was created by Owen Doyle, IRFU Director of Referees which allowed Ken and other young referees attend and participate in regular workshops delivered by David Keane and David McHugh, IRFU Referee Development Officers.
In 2002 Ken was promoted to the National Panel of Referees where he joined the other top referees in the country. Shortly afterwards Ken was awarded the IRFU Young Referee of the year.
To date some of Ken’s career highlights include refereeing in AIL Division 1 at the end of his first season on the National Panel along with refereeing the Leinster Junior Schools Cup Final in 2004 and the Leinster Senior Schools Cup Final in 2007. Ken has also represented the IRFU in Underage Internationals along with acting as Assistant Referee in Magners League and Heineken Cups.
Although a referee spends a lot of time by themselves the Leinster Rugby Referees does offer a “Club” feeling where Ken has established friendships with colleagues. This “Club” feeling offers the group the opportunity to train together while also learning and developing from each others on field experiences.
In 2008 whilst injured Ken was approached to stay involved with refereeing and got involved as the Area Rep for the Metro Area. As an Area Rep the role consists of taking each new recruit once they have completed their Foundation Course delivered by David Keane and appoint them to games to get them ready for their trial game. This consists of an assessment on their competency, law knowledge and fitness. Once they pass this trial they are handed over to the Appointments Committee who will appoint them to games each weekend.
Another part of the role is to organise regular meetings with Referees in the area. As the biggest Area in Leinster the Metro Area has the benefits on calling on some of its own members to help with delivering workshops and law sessions. Members of the Metro Area include two of the most experienced referees in the world in Alain Rolland and Alan Lewis who are never shy when asked to help out at these meetings. The Metro area also has other high profile names such as David Keane who has over 100 caps in the IRB Seven’s and Dudley Phillips who is currently on the Amlin Challenge Cup Panel of Referees who also partake in delivering workshops.
The final part of the Role is to monitor the Metro Referees progress throughout the season, help where possible and be the go to person for referees who are having issues or need help in any way they can. As part of this role Ken sits on the Executive of the ARLB representing referees within the Metro Area.