He began his full international career in September 2002 when he took control of Uruguay’s 34-23 defeat of Chile in a Rugby World Cup qualifier in Montevideo. He went on to earn 21 full international caps as well as officiating in the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup since 2000.
Courtney will be retiring from refereeing at all levels, but will retain close ties with the IRFU Refereeing Department to give assistance and guidance to the development of the next generation of Irish rugby referees.
Commenting on his decision, Courtney said: “It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from refereeing, but the needs of my family and my career have been the key factors in my decision. Refereeing has been a hugely satisfying part of my life since I first took up a whistle and I never thought that it would lead me as far as it has.
"It is something that I would highly recommend to anyone wishing to become or remain involved in the game."
IRFU Director of Referee Development, Owen Doyle said: “Donal has been a magnificent servant to Irish rugby throughout his career as one of our top officials. His abilities were recognised by his appointment at the very highest level and I am delighted that he will keep his association with Irish refereeing to impart some of his knowledge and experience to our next level of club and international referees."
Donal Courtney - International Referee Caps:
2007: Scotland v Italy (RBS 6 Nations), South Africa v Scotland, Scotland v Australia, Italy v Portugal (RWCQ), Portugal v Uruguay (RWCQ()
2006: Scotland v Australia, South Africa v Scotland
2005: Scotland v New Zealand, Italy v France (RBS 6 Nations), South Africa v Uruguay, South Africa v France
2004: Romania v Japan, South Africa v New Zealand (Tri Nations), Argentina v Wales, Argentina v Wales, Wales v Scotland (RBS 6 Nations)
2003: Scotland v Italy (RBS 6 Nations), Spain v USA (RWCQ), Spain v USA (RWCQ), Spain v Tunisia (RWCQ)
2002: Uruguay v Chile (RWCQ), Italy v Romania (RWCQ)
'A' Internationals -
2002: Wales 'A' v Italy 'A'
2001: Italy 'A' v France 'A', Romania 'A' v New Zealand 'A', Scotland 'A' v New Zealand 'A'
2002-2007: Refereed Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and Parker Pen Shield matches
2003: Parker Pen Shield final (Caerphilly v Castres Olympique)
2000: Under-21 World Championship in Sydney
2001: Under-19 World Championship tournament