From far and wide across Ulster, referees of all grades and ages flocked to Shaws Bridge to listen to Ireland’s head of referee development, David McHugh from Munster.
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In the teeming rain, David delivered a master class in positioning and movement to the active referees and onlooking referee assessors. Assisted by Ulster’s Referee Development Officer and Rabobank Pro 12 referee, David Wilkinson, the two Davids hoped to ensure that referees in Ulster would bring an even greater degree of consistency in positioning from week to week for the benefit of the whole game in Ulster from Senior League to Under-13.
Afterwards in the comfort of the clubhouse, Simon McDowell, Ulster’s most senior referee and member of the International Touch Judge panel, chatted at length, with great humour and honesty about his experiences officiating at this Autumn’s World Cup in New Zealand. It was a fascinating look behind the curtain at the necessities of life in the professional era for officials – a somewhat rare glimpse past the cameras to the pre-match rituals and duties expected of a top flight referee or touch judge.
The Society thanked both David McHugh and Simon McDowell for their time and effort in assisting the U.S.R.F.R in seeking to maintain a high standard in Ulster refereeing.