Refs play vital role in 'grass roots to green shirt' scheme
Whistle Blower Damian Eames, PRO, Association of Referee Connacht Branch
A lot of exciting news this past week for Connacht Rugby: a great win for Pat Lam's charges in the Challenge Cup; five players from the province selected for the Ireland Six Nations squad and five for the U-20s.
Our increased representation at international level is a reflection of the investment and targeted work being carried in Connacht. The obvious example would be coaching, from those involved with mini-rugby right up to the provincial elite squads.
Behind the obvious there are many examples of where rugby in Connacht is working hard to be best in class.
The quality of our player pipeline is, in part, nurtured through the Schools Cup competitions. This season we have more teams participating across all Senior and Junior Cups. A move away from knockout to a pool-orientated system gives school players the chance to play more games. More games means more referees are needed.
The co-ordination of appointing referees (particularly mid-week), is a mammoth weekly task. The Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB) are fortunate to have Mick Roche co-ordinating these activities.
Making sure that we have appropriate referees covering games in all corners of the province, is a significant logistical challenge.
Such is the growth of schools rugby. Week in and week out, Mick volunteers tirelessly to have these fixtures fulfilled.
It is not just at provincial level that ARCB is establishing an enviable refereeing footprint. Another example of where our value to rugby has been recognised came when ARCB President, Tom 'Mossy' Moran was selected to join the IRFU Referees Committee.
The remit of this group is shape and guide the on-going development of refereeing in Ireland, particularly the selection of officials at national elite level. The composition of this panel is particularly impressive, when you consider it contains the likes of Philip Orr, Bertie Smith, Denis Templeton, Michael Carroll and Dave McHugh.
We also recently announced our partnership with Ardex Building Products Ireland Ltd. Through the foresight and generosity of Paul Cronin, Ardex provided ARCB with sponsorship that allows us to develop home grown referees across all grades.
It will significantly cover the cost of utilising Ref Cam at games within Connacht. This is a fabulous tool for both individual and collective feedback. We are extremely grateful to Paul Cronin and Ardex for investing in referee development.
The success of rugby in Connacht has many different faces. Some are obvious, some less so. Either way, ARCB is fully committed to making a telling contribution to the collective goal of 'Grass Roots to Green Shirts'.
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
Connacht rolling out concussion workshops
Connacht Rugby will host two evenings of education on the subject of head-injuries and concussion in rugby across the province in the coming weeks.
The workshops will be delivered by the IRFU's first aid and injury prevention coordinator, Shane Mooney, and are open to all sports leaders, parents and players.
- Tuesday, February 2 in the Dalton Hotel, Claremorris from 7.00-8.30.
- Friday, February 19 in the Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo from 7.00-8.30.
Registration is free, but space is limited so to book your place please email email@example.com before noon today.