The IRFU Referee Department held their annual national referee camp at the Irish Rugby High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin on the 12th and 13th August. Six Connacht referees were in attendance, including Johnny Quinn who was attending for the first time.
The camp was attended by the national panel of referees, who provide match officials to AIL, URC, EPCR and World Rugby fixtures. The itinerary for day one included a comprehensive fitness assessment under the watchful eye of IRFU Head of Athletic Performance, Nick Winkleman, and several technical workshops facilitated by IRFU Referee Development Staff. A social barbeque concluded the day’s events. On Sunday morning, former Dublin All-Ireland winning footballer and High-Performance Sport Psychology Coach Kevin McManamon worked with the group, giving tips and guidance on how to improve the mental aspect of their performances.
Connacht and IPAS referee Johnny Quinn said, "The National Camp was an incredible experience and just to be in that environment in the High Performance Centre was amazing. To be there with the Rugby World Cup next month was particularly exciting. It meant so much having worked hard last season in Ulster, Leinster and Munster to finally make it to that level and it really emphasised how much I will need to prepare for this season. The sessions on game awareness and mental preparation were really interesting and everyone I met, including our World Cup referees, were really welcoming. It was an incredible experience surrounded by a really good group of people who love the game."
All of the referees at the camp came through the referee development programme in their respective provinces. This year the Association of Referees, Connacht Branch had six attendees, the largest ever representation from the province in the 35-year existence of the national referee panel. Jason Cairns, Andy Fogarty, Shane Gaughan, Nathan Kearns, and Shane Tuohy, who all attended last year, were joined by their provincial colleague, Johnny Quinn who was recently added to the panel following strong performances in his interprovincial exchange matches last season.
Interested in Becoming a Referee?
"With the upcoming new members course I’m reminded of why I got involved and enjoy refereeing. I really enjoy meeting people around Connacht and I get to see up close some brilliant games. I enjoy the challenge and the demands of physical fitness and mental focus," says ref Johnny Quinn.
The ARCB are holding a course for new referees in Galway on 16th September. If you would like to find out more about becoming a referee, or want to attend the course, the Referee Development Manager for Connacht, former international referee Peter Fitzgibbon is waiting to hear from you. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 8322 987.