Helen O’Reilly first female to join IRFU referee panel

O’Reilly will take charge of Ulster Bank League Divisions 2A and 2B after Women’s World Cup performance

Helen O'Reilly has become the first female to join the IRFU National Referee Panel following impressive performances in the Women's Rugby World Cup earlier this year.

The Dubliner, who split her playing career between Ashbourne and St Mary’s, has taken charge of games at various levels throughout Ireland after coming through the Inter-provincial appointment system (IPAS).

The IRFU National Referee Panel provides officials for matches in the Guinness Pro12 as well as European competition, but to begin with O’Reilly will be in charge of matches of division 2A and 2B of the Ulster Bank League.

IRFU Director of Referee Development Owen Doyle welcomed O'Reilly's appointment, he said: "Helen's appointment is based solely on merit but as the first female referee to make the panel she must be congratulated.

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“Her hard work, dedication and strong refereeing performances have propelled her into the top handful of female referees in the world and into the national panel here in Ireland.”

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden is a former sports journalist with The Irish Times