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Becoming a Referee

Become A Referee – #HaveABlast

Interested in becoming a referee? Check out our video and fill in the form here.

Interested in becoming a referee? Check out our video and fill in the form here.

Becoming a Referee

Referees provide a vital function in servicing all levels of the game. Refereeing is also a fantastic hobby and is increasingly becoming a genuine alternative to playing the game.

Whether you have aspirations to referee at the highest level or to referee locally, there is a place for you. There are excellent support structures in place to develop referees and a thriving social aspect too.


There are a number of benefits to becoming a referee:

  • Refereeing is a great way to stay involved in the game. You are in the thick of the action on the pitch.
  • Fitness is a key element to refereeing and provides our referees with a great incentive to maintain their fitness.
  • Education is an ongoing part of being a referee.
  • There are monthly meetings to keep all referees up to date with all aspects of the law.
  • This means our referees are constantly learning and up to date with the latest law changes and interpretations.
  • Whatever level you aspire to referee at there is a place for you – refereeing underage games in your area, or adult games throughout your province.
  • For referees who perform at a consistently high level there are opportunities to referee nationally in the Energia All Ireland League.
  • There is an excellent social aspect to refereeing. You will meet a broad range of new people and forge new friendships.
  • You will gain membership to your provincial association/society. Benefits of this include access to tickets.
  • Once you become a full member of your provincial association/society you will have access to all the referee gear.
  • This is exclusive to members and the gear is supplied by the province’s official kit supplier.
  • If you are interested in becoming a referee you should make contact with the referee development manager / officer in your province. They will talk you though the process in detail and let you know when the next New Referee Course is set to take place.
  • The New Referee Course is a day long course which takes place on a Saturday or Sunday. Once you complete course you will become a Trial Member of your association/society.
  • Referees will receive mentoring and support on an on going basis once they begin the trial member process. This will include three follow up workshops which usually run for 90 minutes once a month. Progression to full membership is based on a combination of ability, commitment and fitness.

    Referee Development Staff

    Andrew Fogarty – ConnachtReferee Development ManagerAndrew.Fogarty@irfu.ie086 63490818

    Sean Gallagher – LeinsterReferee Development ManagerSean.Gallagher@irfu.ie086 1003985

    Olly Hodges– MunsterReferee Development ManagerOlly.Hodges@irfu.ie087 8596289

    Richard Kerr – UlsterReferee Development ManagerRichard.kerr@irfu.ie00 44 (0) 7493868388

I only want to referee in my own club or school

If you only wish to referee in your own club or school then the Affiliate Referee Scheme is for you. The Affiliate Referee course can be done online. For more details, click here.

IRFU Referee Frank Murphy will be involved in European Champions Cup action this weekend

Frank Murphy is pictured refereeing the pre-season match between Munster and London Irish in Cork ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

For any players thinking of about refereeing, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It continues to be an exciting journey for me through the ranks and back into the pro game. But, more than anything it got me back on the pitch, involved in a game that I love. I’d encourage anybody to give it a shot – you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy it.

Retired Players – Stay In The Game

Have you just finished playing and find yourself wondering how you can stay involved in rugby? Then perhaps refereeing is the next step for you. Increasingly, more and more players who have decided to hang up the boots are continuing their rugby journey by taking up the whistle.

Why? Refereeing is an excellent way to maintain your fitness level after you retire. You are still getting out on the pitch and enjoying the game from the best seat in the house. Your playing experience will certainly also stand to you in terms of your ability to read the game and in understanding what the players are trying to achieve.

All of the provincial associations/societies have members who are former players, and they referee at all levels from underage right up to the All Ireland League. Some have even progressed into High Performance and officiate at the highest level. Andrew Brace, Frank Murphy and Joy Neville all enjoyed distinguished playing careers before taking up the whistle.

If you are thinking about giving refereeing a try contact your provincial Referee Development Manager/Officer (See the IRFU Referee Staff tab on this page). It could be one of the best decisions you ever make!


IRFU Referee Department

Dudley Phillips – Head of Referees

Peter Fitzgibbon – National Referee Manager

Frank Murphy – High Performance Referee Coach & Talent ID Manager

Neysa Herity – Referee Coordinator

Julie Moran – Referee Coordinator

Referee Development Staff

Andrew Fogarty – Connacht
Referee Development Manager
086 63490818

Sean Gallagher – Leinster
Referee Development Manager
086 1003985

Olly Hodges– Munster
Referee Development Manager
086 8596289

Richard Kerr – Ulster
Referee Development Manager
00 44 (0) 7493868388