IRFU Referees and Laws of the Game | Referee Information

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Referee Information

Referee Information

Better Refereeing = Better Game

Refereeing is key to the game and is an important element of IRFU Policy. The IRFU have a dedicated department dealing with Referee and Match Official Development. It is headed by former international referee David McHugh, Referee Performance Manager.

Delivering the national programs are Referee Development Managers Peter Fitzgibbon, David Wilkinson, David O'Brien and Referee Development Officer Sean Gallagher.

Neysa Herity and Julie Moran are in charge of all administration issues relating to the work of the department while Jeff Blackburn is the referee video analyst.


Better refereeing improves that standard of the game with safer more structured matches for our players. This makes for a more enjoyable playing experience for all involved.

The IRFU Referee Department run workshops regularly throughout the season to help improve refereeing standards across all levels of the game. The department also works to further develop assessors and referee coaches.

Domestically we have close to 500 branch referees. These referees are all volunteers who willingly give up their time to help support and facilitate the smooth running of the game.

They are supported and appointed by their provincial referee association / society. The four associations / society operate under the direction of their respective branch and the IRFU. They are volunteer organisations that do an excellent job in supporting and appointing their members to matches throughout the season.


The IRFU have a national panel of 50 referees who service the All Ireland League and domestic representative matches. These appointments are administrated centrally.

National panel referees are regularly assessed and coached with feedback from club and provincial coaches welcomed.


Internationally we have strong representation with George Clancy and John Lacey refereeing in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Dudley Philips, David Wilkinson, Gary Conway and Andrew Brace referee regularly in EPRC Competitions and the Guinness Pro 12.

Helen O'Reilly has refereed in the 2014 Women's World Cup with Joy Neville refereeing in the Women's World Sevens Series.


If you are interested in becoming a referee we would love to hear from you. Our development staff would be delighted to talk you through the recruitment process. Please click here if interested for further details.

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