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WHISTLEBLOWER

Damian Eames (president of Association of Connacht Referees - ARCB) discusses the experiences of nine-year referee veteran Daithi Flood (Oughterard RFC).

Why rugby refereeing in Connacht?

"It was a combination of staying involved in rugby after college, and having something to train for (got fed up going to gym for just staying fit). I also heard the social side of things was good."

Memories of your first match?

"I don't honestly remember my first match. I didn't take it too serious when I first started, but it was said to me, teams are training two or three times a week and that they deserve a decent referee."

Funniest thing to happen you as a referee?

"I've never been able to live it down, but in one match I advanced a scrum 10 metres for backchat from one of the players. I keep getting slagged for that today. I'll never do it again!"

Best memory from refereeing?

"I don't have any single best memory of refereeing, but I have made several friends from it and have a lot of good memories with them."

Most enjoyable game you refereed?

"I enjoy all games that I referee, but a Connacht Junior Cup in 2007 between Corinthians v Monivea stands out - it was very competitive, fast and aggressive. I always enjoy the Ard Na Cregg Competition towards the end of the season. Last season I did Connemara v Tuam; the combined age of two opposite centres was 90ish!! It was fun watching them go toe to toe."

Best improvement in rugby laws?

"I think the new scrum calls (without the pause), is the best law change in recent years as it's easier for front-rows to understand!!! It also makes the scrum far more competitive."

Why would you encourage

others to take up

refereeing?

"Fitness, social, stay involved in rugby, support your local club, access to international tickets. It's also very enjoyable to be so close to the tackle area and watch the competition develop."

Irish Independent