Irish refereeing received another huge boost with the news that IRFU Leisure Rugby Referee Development Officer, Peter Fitzgibbon, has been named on the IRB International Referee Panel.
Peter Fitzgibbon joins current international referees Alain Rolland, Alan Lewis and, last year’s addition, George Clancy to complete the Irish quartet on the World Elite Panel.
Fitzgibbon started refereeing just seven years ago and was promoted to the National Referee Panel in 2005 and since then he has steadily risen through the ranks.
This year he has had a very successful season in the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup, following on from last year when he refereed New Zealand v England in the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship final in Wales.
The Limerick man made his Test debut last November with two games between Japan and the USA.
Commenting on this appointment, Owen Doyle, IRFU Director of Referee Development, said: “This is an incredibly proud achievement for Peter and for Irish rugby.
“He has worked hard on his game and this is just reward for his effort and, in addition to the other appointments for Irish referees this summer, it is another boost for the development of refereeing.
“The IRFU has put significant resources into referee development structures over the past number of years and with four appointments to the International Panel this is a testament to these structures.”
Irish referees have enjoyed a year of success with David Keane and Aoife McCarthy making a huge impression on the Sevens circuit.
Keane led the International referree panel at the recent IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.
Former Shannon and Munster player John Lacey has also been appointed for the IRB Nations Cup alongside JP Doyle.