A great turnout and a warm welcome


We had a great turnout last weekend at the Connacht Hotel where Peter Fitzgibbon led a New Referees course. There was great engagement all round from the group. We extend a warm welcome from the ARCB to all participants and we look forward to seeing and supporting you pitch-side in the very near future.

Come along and join the fun


Come along and join the fun at our next New Referees Course. Just have a quick read of what some of our current members have to say:

“Anyone looking to stay involved in the game this is a great opportunity to be on the pitch in the thick of it. With a great support network in @connachtreferee
and channels to the top level. Also a great way to keep the fitness up” (Kenneth Loughrey)

“New course starts soon I would highly recommend great support and mentoring throughout @connachtrugby @connachtreferee” (Shane Tuohy)

“A great way to get involved in the grassroots game, get fit and help build future provincial and national success. All levels welcome and from my experience a really welcoming and fun group to work with.” (Johnny Quinn)

“One of the best ways to be involved in sport is to referee. Why not sign up to the next course on January 21st?” (Jason Craughwell)

Seasons Greetings


A very Happy Christmas to all of our referees at ARCB who give up their valuable time week in – week out to contribute to the continuing success of the game of rugby. Thank you one and all. Pink is definitely our colour as you can see from this selection of images of some of our most photogenic referees.

Ireland v South Africa Officials


From left: Paul Haycock (4th), Andrea Piardi (AR2), Nika Amashukeli (Referee), Mathieu Raynal (AR1), Andy Fogarty (5th) and John Martin (6th).

It was a great honour for the ARCB to have two of our finest in Andy Fogarty and John Martin perform the roles of 5th and 6th Officials at the recent Ireland v South Africa clash in the Autumn Internationals Series. Below is a short report from John on his duties for the day and his experience:

“I had the honour of being 6th Official at the Ireland vs South Africa International on Sat 5th November last.  Andy Fogarty was also involved as 5th.  So, first caps for us both!

        My own role was mainly with paperwork, and acting as assistant to Paul Haycock as 4th in after-match form filling.  One primary job, between us 4,5 & 6 is to time Sin bins, i.e. 10mins off stadium clock.  HIA, Head injury Assessments are 12 minutes normal time.

    The  ‘Tick box’ on the sub card, be it Injury, Tactical, Blood is important.  It is a behind the scenes support role. We would link with the TV floor manager when replacements come on, for TV graphic and commentator data.

    Andy had to operate the digital display for the 1st half individual replacements. It is not practical for multiple substitutions. I had Nika’s spare whistle in my pocket, in case there was a malfunction.

   Looking back, the experience I got as 5th official in the Sportsground several years back was a big help. You can’t be a spectator or get emotionally involved. You have to keep your wits about you and stay switched on.

      Overall, it was a great experience to be involved in an extremely competitive International involving the #1 ranked team versus the World Champions.”

                                                                          John J. Martin,

Action Stations!


A collection of images here from around the province showing some of our referees in action this season so far. We are a busy bunch!

Keith Haverty
Mike Ridley – Sligo v University of Galway
John Davey – Sligo v Creggs U18
Shane Tuohy
Siobhan Daly
John Fitzmaurice

More Great News!


In more great news our own Shane Gaughan and Shane Tuohy recently completed their first AIL matches in charge. Shane Gaughan was in Skerries for his match and Shane Tuohy was in Tullamore. The very best of luck to both in their first season at this high level from all at ARCB.

ARCB’s Shane Gaughan (centre) ably assisted by Joe McDermott to the left and Christopher Bonnie to the right.
ARCB’s Shane Tuohy (centre) ably assisted by Paul Rock to the left and Keith Spendlove to the right.

Congratulations Andy Fogarty


Congratulations to our very own Andy Fogarty who recently took on the duties of AR2 at at his first URC appointment in the match between Leinster and Benetton. He is pictured here on the left of image with Jaco Peyper (centre) and Paul Haycock (AR1; right). Far from just the one appointment Andy is out again this weekend as an AR at Ulster v Ospreys. Go well Andy from all at a proud ARCB!

Preseason Training


Preseason training is in full swing and nearing its completion. The final two sessions are Tuesday 23rd and Tuesday 30th August at 7pm, Tuam RFC. Thanks to Tuam RFC for facilitating and to Ann Caffrey for putting us through our paces.

Oh what a night!


Oh what a night that followed a fantastic day of golfing (controversial result for some) and some daredevil ziplining. The Station House Hotel in Clifden treated us to a delicious meal in fabulous surroundings on Saturday last. The night was enjoyed by over 60 guests and we were thoroughly entertained by our MC for the night John O’Boyle. John shared many amusing anecdotes and introduced ARCB President Charlie Bourke who provided us with some anecdotes of his own while performing his role as President with aplomb. Many thanks to our guest speaker for the night, Mossy Moran, and to Des Kavanagh for providing some inspiring words to ARCB members on behalf of the IRFU.

Yum Yum!
Dizzying heights!

Members Meeting in Person!


A reminder of our Members Meeting (trial members also welcome!) to be held next Thursday 24th February, 7:30 pm, at the Connacht Hotel in person! It will be fantastic to see some of the trial members in the image in the post below graduating to Level 1 referees. Looking forward to a good turnout and seeing you all there!

New Referees Course


Well done to all attendees at our recent new referees course at the Connacht Hotel in Galway. The course was held over two Mondays nights in November. We look forward to seeing attendees out on the touchlines very soon and then onto the pitch with a whistle in hand shortly after! Thank you to all who gave of their time to attend and to Peter Fitzgibbon for hosting.

Referee Development


A key aspect of rugby refereeing is the welcome coaching received from our panel of Assessors. The role of the Assessor is to provide their experience and observations in an encouraging manner so that every referee is assisted in their development and improvement so that they can be the best that they can be. Assessment begins from the very first day that someone steps onto the pitch and takes on the responsibility of running the line and/or has the whistle in their hand/mouth. It is a valuable and key part of refereeing development and engagement. The image below shows Charlie Bourke providing useful feedback to match referee Keith Haverty at half time between Oughterard Rugby and Monivea RFC on Sunday 10th October 2021. Thank you Charlie and all our assessors.



Congratulations to Andy Fogarty who completed his first AIL match on October 2nd. Andy was supported on the day by Touch Judges Gareth Durkan and Jason Craughwell. Well done again Andy – final score Galwegians 23 Ballina 22.

So WHY not become a referee?


My friend’s question hung in the air, and I did not answer it, at first.

When it finally sunk in, there were a thousand questions on my mind- well at least a few dozen.  Time, fitness, it had been over 15 years since I had been on a Rugby pitch. Where would I train, how would I re-learn the laws. I need not have worried as from the off, I received nothing but support from the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB).

So, four months later, having completed training I found myself running a line at Creggs RFC, and for many, if not most, weekends since, I was no longer on a Golf course or tinkering in the garden or watching others kick a ball around on TV. I was now back on a pitch.

It took a little persuasion, and a realisation that I could not contribute beyond a certain level, that the body could not run or sprint as it used to. However, the level you referee at is not the thing. It is not required that you have played at a high level, it is sufficient that you follow the laws and preserve neutrality, fair play, and the spirit of the game.

That said, if you apply yourself, there is no limit, to where you can go, and some of you reading this may want to rise through the ranks and aspire to the top, and if so, you will find support and encouragement aplenty. So, what do you get in return? In short, lots. Some do it to keep fit, make new friends, enjoy the craic, and the slagging and the odd laugh. For others, it is the chance to deepen their knowledge of the game, to pit their wits against the elements, come rain or shine.

For me, it is somewhat different. It is the chance to do all of the above but rather, to give something back to the game. For those of a certain age- Jean-Pierre Rives, the blond French flanker said “The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit.”

That means giving back to a game that has given me so much as a fan, player and now as a referee. So why not you?

If you have played the game or worked as a volunteer in a club or school, I would encourage you to reach out now to Peter Fitzgibbon on 086 832 2987 or peter.fitzgibbon@irfu.ie. There is a new training course at the end of October, close to you.

So, why not you and why not now?

John O Boyle, PRO ARCB

On-Field Session 2021


In glorious sunshine on Saturday 28th August, 2021 we had our first on-field session (thanks for the pitch Galwegians RFC!) for sometime. Thirty seven referees (some young, some not so young) applied sunscreen and took part in an on-field session led by Peter Fitzgibbon. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and discuss a little more about positioning and the new law trials. It was also an opportunity to belatedly present some awards from 2019. Congratulations to:

Paul Cronin – President’s Award

Andy Fogarty – Referee of the Year

John Quinn – Junior Referee of the Year

Sean Cooney – Young Referee of the Year

Clockwise from top left and presented by Jason Craughwell: Paul Cronin, Sean Cooney, John Quinn, Andy Fogarty.

Preseason Strength & Conditioning 2021


Our Preseason strength & Conditioning, led by Ann Caffrey, is in full swing on Monday evenings at the Sportsground. Group photo from left: Shane Tuohy, Gerry Geraghty, John O’Boyle, Andy Fogarty, John Quinn, John Martin, Kevin Bolger, Charlie O’Donoghue.

Return to Action in August!


The new season is almost upon us. Fixtures are scheduled to resume from 14th August. In preparation for what we hope will be a fixture-packed season ahead Strength and Conditioning for all active referees begins from 7pm to 8pm next Monday 19th July at the Sportsground.

In addition please save the date for our preseason meeting scheduled for Thursday 12th August at 7pm online. Dial in details will be distributed via email.

And now for some fun….we are planning a small social event to kick off the new season (in accordance with present and future restrictions). Stay tuned for further details!

ARCB Claire Toolan Appointment Down Under!


Congratulations to Claire Toolan ARCB for her appointment as AR1- Western Force vs Presidents XV- 24TH June at 2 pm – Coffs Harbour Stadium. You are a credit to yourself, your family and the Association. Well done from all of us at ARCB and we look forward to welcoming you back!

IRFU Referee Department Event


Following on from our very successful evening in December 2020, when all 4 Referee Associations/Society came together to learn from Dr Tadgh MacIntrye, the Referee Department are pleased to announce another event this month.

We will be joined by GAA Referee David Gough on Tuesday 26th January at 19.30 – 20.30.

David, a teacher by profession, took up refereeing in 2007. He rose up through the GAA officiating ranks to become one of the most successful GAA referees. He has now refereed the 4 major finals:

·         2013 All-Ireland Under 21 Football Championship Final

·         2015 All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final

·         2017–18 All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship Final

·         2019 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final

Most recently he has refereed the 2020 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi Final.

David will talk us through some of his refereeing experiences, as well as many transferable skills we as rugby referees can use such as Preparation, Fitness, Control and Communication. We very much look forward to having all four Referees Associations/Society come together for what should be a very informative and entertaining evening with David.

The link to the meeting will be forwarded through the Secretary.

Mental Skills in Rugby Refereeing


On Tuesday 17th November, 2020 all four Referees Associations joined together for a presentation by Dr. Tadgh MacIntyre on mental skills in rugby refereeing. Dr. MacIntyre talked through a range of mental strategies that might assist referees at all levels. Online attendance on the night was a very impressive 240. Many thanks are due to the IRFU Referee Department for running this major initiative.

NEW Referee Course


Have you got what it takes??

Due to the current Covid 19 restrictions the next course is scheduled for September 2021.  

In the meantime if you are interested in attending or if you have questions about what is involved in being a rugby referee please feel free to contact Peter Fitzgibbon using the details below 👇