Busy referees making sure sport heads in right direction
It has been a busy time recently on all fronts for the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB). While the men of Connacht Rugby have been fronting up in recent weeks, there have been a number of marquee events for our members.
On the playing front, there have been a host of schools and club finals. Being appointed to any of these matches is a great honour and a reflection of refereeing performances over the season. For the likes of Mike Roche, Glenn Sheridan, Peter Gaughan and Shane McElwee, these must have been exciting and privileged days to cherish.
All referees will tell you it is a team game for them as well. Each of the previously-mentioned referees will have brought with them a trusted team of additional officials. To provide the best experience for the players, coaches and supporters, ARCB invests a lot of thought into the selection and preparation for these landmark matches. When the best of the province are playing in their respective finals, ARCB want to ensure we provide a team of officials that are a match for the occasion.
Throughout this season, we have written about the extensive investment that is made off the pitch in our referee squads. All of our work is being spearheaded by our full-time referee development officer, Sean Gallagher.
This week, he invited John Lacey (IRFU elite referee) and Frank Murphy (former Connacht player and now IRFU referee), to host an information and recruitment evening in Galway. John Lacey is a great example of someone who constantly delivers on the international stage but who is always mindful of supporting refereeing at grassroots level.
For those who feel their playing days are coming to an end, Murphy has demonstrated that there is plenty of enjoyment to be gained by becoming a referee.
What a year it has been for our president, Tom 'Mossy' Moran. He has been a great and humble leader of ARCB this season. In fact, our neighbours across the Atlantic could learn a significant amount of how to operate and appear in a presidential manner. It was only fitting that his president's dinner was a great success. Ably supported by a great committee, his evening was an occasion of tales, good company and laughter.
We have talked recently about the province's mission of "Grass Roots to Green Shirts". Refereeing is another great way of keeping the game healthy in Connacht. The more volunteers we have, the more opportunities that will arise for great Pro12 and European nights for Connacht.
For those interested in becoming a referee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 086 1735096. Alternatively check out our website, www.arcb.ie.