European refs for Rounds 3 and 4 named

The referees for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup have been announced.

Nigel Owens will take charge of the clash of Northampton Saints v Leinster in a rematch of the 2011 Heineken Cup Final when the two former winners meet at Franklin’s Gardens in Round 3 .

Heineken Cup: Round 3

Pool 1

Castres Olympique v Ospreys

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ire)

Pool 2

Exeter Chiefs v Toulon

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ire)

Continue reading European refs for Rounds 3 and 4 named

Leinster Match Program – Article 4

This article appeared in the Connacht match program

Gerry Maher

It was with great sadness that the Leinster Rugby Referee community learnt of the passing of Gerry Maher, our esteemed member and former President on the weekend of October 12th. To his wife Ann, his children, his mother and all his relatives and friends, on behalf of the Association of Referees, Leinster Branch, IRFU, we extend our sincere sympathy at this very sad time.

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.

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Alain Rolland wins Tom Rooney award for his ‘exceptional contribution’ to refereeing

IRFU and Leinster international referee Alain Rolland, who is hanging up his whistle at the end of the season, received the Tom Rooney award for his ‘exceptional contribution’ to refereeing.

Peter OÕBrien of Guinness and Michael Corcoran present Alain Rolland with the Tom Rooney Award 11/11/2013

Alain Rolland is considered one of the top referees in world rugby. In his playing days, Rolland played at scrum half for Leinster and also gained three caps for Ireland. After retiring from playing, he began his refereeing career, with his first Test appointment coming in 2001.

The experienced official has enjoyed an excellent career at the forefront of world rugby and has been involved in three World Cups, peaking in 2007 where he officiated the final between England and South Africa.

He was also an assistant referee in the 2011 final. Rolland has recently announced his intention to retire from refereeing at end of the current season.

Double refs for Varsity Cup in SA

The Varsity Cup will lend itself to further refereeing experimentation, with the 2014 competition set to employ two referees in every fixture.

Having trialled the white card (time-out) system in the inaugural tournament back in 2008, as well as allowing referees to make their own Television Match Official decisions (with in-goal television screens), the Varsity Cup will now lend itself to further refereeing experimentation.

Double refs for Varsity Cup from

Leinster Match Program Article 3

This article appeared in the Castres Program

Roller retires
We were saddened to hear that Alain Rolland is to hang up his whistle at the end of the current season. Roller has been a great ambassador for the Leinster Rugby Referees since he took up the whistle, by accident, whilst training in Blackrock College RFC all those years ago. Little did he know then that he would become one of the greatest referees of all time, not just in rugby, but in world sport. Rollers stats speak for themselves. In 2001 Rolland refereed his first Test (Wales vs Romania) and then was appointed to a Six Nations match. He has refereed many, many matches wince then – at three World Cups, in the Six Nations and the Tri-Nations, and the Heineken Cup but just lately he has had to withdraw because of injury – 70+ International Matches including one World Cup Final (12 years at the top), 76 European Cup matches, including two Heineken Cup finals, 100+ Celtic League matches, hundreds of All Ireland league matches not to mention 40 caps for Leinster, and 3 for Ireland. An amazing career by anyone’s standards.

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Gerard P Maher 1954 – 2013

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.

GP and Joe

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.