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Mental Skills For Rugby Refereeing

Mental Skills For Rugby Refereeing

Energia All-Ireland League Division 2C, Spollanstown, Tullamore 29/2/2020 Tullamore RFC vs Bangor RFC Referee Barry Moloney Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Referee development took a step forward heading into 2021 after a seminar entitled: Mental Skills for Rugby Refereeing.

The online event was the first ever coming together of the four Referees Associations/Society in Irish Rugby.

The presenter was Dr. Tadgh MacIntyre – an accredited sport psychologist who has worked with both Munster and Ulster Rugby as well as with Irish Referees over the past 10 years.


IRFU Referees Committee Chairman Mr. Mark Orr opened proceedings:

“Having been involved in Irish Refereeing for 35 years, this is the first time I am aware, that all referees in Ireland, have had the opportunity to meet together with such a valued speaker with limited time on his hands,” he said. ”I want to put on record my thanks to all the volunteers across the country.”

Over 250 were in attendance, including all five IRFU High Performance Referees and the top 52 Referees from the IRFU National Panel.

The session focused on the referee mindset around energy, empathy and environment.

Key aspects included:

  • How a referee manages his/her emotions
  • How the referees manages  difficult match situations
  • How the referee communicates with players in the heat of game
  • How the referees controls his/her mindset before, during and after a game

IRFU National Referee Manager David Wilkinson said:

“To have all four referees Associations/Society come together at once for the first time was fantastic. With a speaker with the wealth of experience in sports psychology that Dr Tadgh MacIntyre brings was a huge opportunity for every referee in Ireland.

“Having referees that are literally in their first few weeks of refereeing, right to up our International Referees on the session, was a testament to the knowledge Tadgh brings.

I have no doubt every one was able to take some learnings away from the night and hopefully help us all improve as referees.”