Whistle Blower

What a season it has been in Connacht!! When you read such a remark, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is another exaltation of Pat Lam’s green giants. While such accolades are well deserved, there has been a lot of other growth happening within the green roots of the province. The Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB), has once again built upon its successes from previous seasons and can look back over the months with renewed satisfaction.
Under the leadership of outgoing President, Tom “Mossy” Moran, all of our members can testify to a job well done these past months. The hallmarks of a satisfying season are very evident. From those trotting out to referee their first game, taking charge of an Inter-Pro to being a key official for an International. Our members have also been recognised recently at the Connacht Rugby Awards. Congrats to Jason Cairns (Referee of the Year), also to John Davey and Cian de Buitlear on their respective awards.
The real worth of an association can be measured by the experiences of those joining the ranks for the first time. In terms of summing up the value add of ARCB, what better way than to let one of our new members do the talking.
Shane Gaughan came through our Trail Member training programme at the outset of this season. I was curious as to why he made the leap into rugby refereeing. “I got involved in refereeing because my dad (Peter) had been doing it for the past 6 years. We’d be always talking about laws during matches and he said why don’t I give it a go, and if I liked it, all well and good, and if I didn’t, at least I gave it a go”.
Something positive must have happened as Shane happily saw out the season. “I did give it a go this year and honestly loved every game I’ve been involved in! I love the game of rugby and wanted to stay involved so refereeing was the best option for me.”

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** 2016 Connacht Rugby Awards Night, Bailey Allen Hall, NUIG, Galway 7/5/2016 Shane and Peter Gaughan Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

When quizzed a little further, it was obvious that an early positive induction had a telling impact on Shane. “The training courses with Sean Gallagher were very enjoyable and easy to follow. It’s also good to see Sean moving up the ranks in his refereeing career, in turn he hopes to move us along as well.”
All in all, the experience of refereeing has been an enjoyable one for Shane. His experience is very much the norm for our new members. If you ever wonder why you should take up refereeing, then I’ll leave the final few words to Shane. “I would recommend refereeing to anyone who wants to stay involved in the game but doesn’t feel like they’re up for playing it any more. Being a rugby referee is a great way to meet new people and see places around the province which you would never go to otherwise.”
As the season comes to a close, I would like to acknowledge all the members of ARCB for their hard work in keeping the game so vibrant in Connacht. Best wishes to our incoming President for next season, Louis Cunningham. A final thank you to all the clubs, players, coaches and supporters. We may not always see eye to eye, but we can stand shoulder to shoulder in supporting Connacht and Irish rugby.
For those interested in becoming a referee and attending our new course in early September, please email [email protected] or phone 086 1735096. Alternatively check out our website, www.arcb.ie.

Damian Eames
PRO – Association of Referee Connacht Branch

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Club & Community statement following the conclusion of domestic rugby season