New faces are already making huge difference
As we come to end of another calendar year, those in the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB), are just arriving at the midway point of their season.
Despite the recent deluges across the province, it has been a busy number of months for ARCB on and off the pitch.
A new season brought a number of changes in our executive and other supporting committees. It has been encouraging to see a number of new faces taking an active role in supporting the development of refereeing in Connacht.
We also welcomed our new rugby development officer (Sean Gallagher), and he has been busy offering coaching classes to our existing members.
Along with the support of the Rugby Committee, he has launched our new Community Referee Programme. This has allowed volunteers to participate as referees in youth games within a specified geographical area.
In addition, he has supported ARCB with two training days for those interested in taking up the whistle. These new member days have added to our ranks but we are always looking for more volunteers.
A lot of our recent innovation around referee development has only been made possible by the generous sponsorship of friends of ARCB. Last weekend we received such a needed boost from Paul Cronin from Ardex Building Products Ireland Ltd.
"Ardex is a leading supplier of products to the flooring and tiling market in Ireland, we pride ourselves in being the best for our customers. ARCB have a like-minded approach in being the best for its members and for rugby refereeing. It's a perfect match," said Paul.
ARCB also took the time to take a step back and enjoy some seasonal festivities last weekend. We were once again the guests of Connacht Rugby for their Challenge Cup match against Newcastle.
Another excellent night was enjoyed by our members. Many thanks once again to Willie Ruane, Gavin Duffy and Richard Doyle for the welcome and hospitality.
The reach of ARCB can be felt far and near. Sometimes it appears in the most unlikely of places. Last week one of our members, Jason Cairns, was married to Naomi Maguire.
While Jason might have tried to squeeze in a sneaky game to referee around the big day, there was no denying he was ready to help out if required (see the wedding cake figurines above). We wish Jason and Naomi all the best now and into the future.
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. From everyone at ARCB, we wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a healthy, penalty-free 2016.