Munster quintet land ref contracts
As referee development continues throughout the province, the IRFU recently announced seven referees who have been awarded IRFU professional contracts with five Munster referees named.
The seven contracted referees include Munster's Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy, George Clancy, John Lacey and Joy Neville as well as Ulster's David Wilkinson and Sean Gallagher from Connacht.
Welsh-born Andrew Brace is a member of Old Crescent RFC and having played rugby internationally with Belgium, took up refereeing in 2013.
He rose quickly through the refereeing ranks and took charge of British and Irish Cup games in 2014.
He continued on to referee in the Guinness PRO12 in 2015 and made his European debut during the 2015/16 season.
He officiated at the Junior World Championships in 2016 and took charge of his first full international in 2017 (England v Barbarians) and his first Test fixture later in the year (Canada v Georgia).
George Clancy is a member of Bruff RFC and began refereeing with the Munster Association of Referees in 2000.
He refereed his first professional game, Borders v Dragons, in October 2004.
Quickly moving through the ranks, he made his debut in the European Cup in January 2005 (Bourgoin v Bath) and after appearing at the 2005 & 2006 Junior World Cups, made his senior international debut with a World Cup qualifier game in Montevideo between Uruguay and USA.
He has since gone on to referee in the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and at the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015.
John Lacey is a member of Clanwilliam FC in his native Tipperary.
He played professionally for Munster as a wing/full-back and took up refereeing after his retirement.
His first fixture was in the Munster Schools Junior Cup, where he officiated St Munchin's versus CBC Cork.
Since then Lacey has gone on to referee across all major competitions including the European Champions Cup, the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and the World Cup in 2015.
Frank Murphy began his playing career in Crosshaven RFC and played schools rugby with CBC Cork where he won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2000.
He played rugby professionally as a scrum-half for more than 10 years with Munster, Leicester and Connacht and won caps for Ireland A.
During his time with Leicester Frank won with Premiership and played in the Heineken Cup final in season 06-07.
He refereed his first professional game in 2016 when he took charge of the Dragons versus Edinburgh in the PRO12, and soon after that officiated his first international between Germany and Portugal.
Joy Neville played at No 8 for Munster and Ireland, winning 70 caps for her country and was part of the Grand Slam-winning team in 2013.
After retiring from the game she decided to try refereeing and has risen steadily through the ranks.
She moved up the league in the Ulster Bank League over the past number of seasons, and more recently has been named as an assistant referee in the Guinness PRO14 and European Rugby Challenge Cup games.
She refereed on the 2016/17 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series and took charge of the Women's Rugby World Cup final in Belfast.
She will officiate at the Rugby Europe international between Norway versus Denmark on October 25th.