Numbers on the rise for refereeing seminar
The 2017/'18 season kicked off for the Leinster Rugby Referees with their annual seminar on August 20 in Old Wesley RFC. Over 160 referees attended the day, one of the largest attendances to date, showing the increased popularity in refereeing within Leinster and the excellent work done by the IRFU Recruitment officers and area representatives.
Conor Byrne, president of the Leinster Rugby Referees, opened proceedings, welcoming the referees to another season and wishing them well. Leinster Rugby Referees were also delighted to welcome David O'Brien, who conducted the pre-season presentation and the key points and focus areas for referees this season.
There were also some excellent presentations from referees Paul Haycock, Gary Glennon and Kevin Beggs.
Mirroring the success of the annual seminar was the large representation from Irish Referees at the Women's World Cup.
Congratulations to Joy Neville from the Munster Association of Referees on a well-refereed final and well done to Sean Gallagher on a successful tournament.
It was of course huge disappointment that Helen O'Reilly had to withdraw due to injury and everyone now wishes her a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back on the pitch over the coming weeks.
Blackrock ramp up facilities for season
A brand new state-of-the-art physio centre and shower block has been completed ahead of the new season in Blackrock College RFC and will be officially opened ahead of the first men's AIL home game against Cashel on September 23.
A day later the club's women's team play their first home match of the new season against Cooke while the minis and youths sections have also all kicked off for another season.
In the next few months there is also the annual Ladies Lunch on October 20 and anyone interested in attending is asked to check out www.blackrockcollegerfc.ie for more information.
More information on all things Blackrock College RFC can be found at @BCRFC on Twitter or Facebook on @blackrockrugby
Magee eyes strong start
The Leinster U-18 Clubs, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, rounded off their preparations for the Interprovincial Championship with a welcome 28-24 victory over Blackrock College last weekend but now face into the first round proper.
The Clubs have been something of a revelation in the last five years, the colossal work at grassroots level paying off handsomely.
It is worth noting that Tadhg Furlong, out of New Ross RFC, and Sean O'Brien, out of Tullow RFC, were two of just three Irishmen - the other was Conor Murray - to start in all three Tests for the Lions against New Zealand in the summer.
Who knows where the next O'Brien or Furlong will come from? On recent evidence, there is a fair chance it is as likely to come from the Leinster Clubs as it is from the Schools.
Either way, Leinster team manager Louis Magee is more concerned with the here and now. For the moment. It is all about Ulster in Armagh tomorrow afternoon.
"We need to start well," warned Magee.
"This is rep rugby. A lot of our guys are new to it. It is a new level of intensity and aggression. You can't let teams get away from you early on.
"We feel it is a stronger squad overall than we had last year.
"They are more cohesive and there are good players there.
"It gives us the option to play the game in different ways if we have to, depending on weather conditions."
Leinster U-18 clubs squad
Fiachra Hourihane ( Enniscorthy RFC), Cathal Farrell ( Tullamore RFC), Thomas McBrien (Skerries RFC), Sean Wafer (Gorey RFC), Matthew Jungmann (Seapoint RFC), Josh O'Connor (Wexford Wanderers RFC), Luis Faria (Wanderers RFC), Mikey McGiff (Clontarf RFC), Karl Martin (Boyne RFC), Diarmuid Egan (Tullamore RFC), Patrick McKenzie (Wicklow RFC), Adam Nealon (DLSP RFC), Jack Ussher (Suttonians RFC), Shane Murphy (Skerries RFC), Brian Deeney (Wexford Wanderers RFC), Robert Murphy (Gorey RFC), Luke Thompson (Wicklow RFC), David Murphy (Blackrock RFC), Patrick Kieran (Greystones RFC), Tadhg Butler (Kilkenny RFC), Sam Porter (Wicklow RFC), Fionn Gilbert (Clontarf RFC), Sean O'Rourke (Athy RFC), Jordan Kelly (Enniscorthy RFC), Marcus Hannon (Clane RFC), Charlie Ward (Tullow RFC), Michael Power (Clontarf RFC), Barry Ryan (Wexford Wanderers RFC), Mark Nicholson (Wicklow RFC), Harry Noonan (Greystones RFC).
Tomorrow: Ulster v Leinster, Armagh RFC, KO1.0.
Saturday, September 16: Connacht v Leinster, The Sportsground, KO2.30.
Saturday, September 23: Leinster v Munster, Donnybrook, KO12.0.