Name: Padraig Dunne.
Club: Colt GAA.
Playing Career: I started playing adult for Colt in 1995 and finished playing hurling with Colt/Shanahoe in 2022. I still play football with Colt.
Most memorable moment as a player: Winning the Intermediate Championship in 2008.
Number of Years as a referee: This is my sixth year as a referee.
Why did you get involved in becoming a referee:
I was finishing my term as Chairman of Colt GAA and I was looking for new challenges within the GAA. I seen an advertisement from Laois GAA for referee’s so I went and done the course. After I did my first game I knew that it was for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and still do everytime I take to the field at all levels.
Player you most admire as a referee:
There are loads of player’s in both code’s that are a joy to ref, I’ll stay away from mentioning names but every club has that player that when the pressure is on they stand up to it and you see the character in them, and doing so without roaring and shouting at me helps too.
Highlight of your referee career so far:
I’ve been very lucky in my few years that I’ve been involved in some great games whether refereeing or on the line in Croke Park or Semple Stadium but I’d have to say being appointed to referee your county final is a great honour. My first final was during covid times so to get the chance again with all the build-up and the day itself is very special.
Can you provide us with a summary of your time officiating at the Middle East Games:
On the last weekend in September I was selected from Leinster to travel to the UAE to officiate in the Middle East Games. I was part of a team of 5 that travelled out, 2 Leinster Referees and 3 from Munster.
The games were held in Al Ain, about an hour from Dubai. We officiated their games on the Friday which consisted of hurling and camogie. The standard was very high and the games played were all very competitive. It was nice to catch up with the Laois players that are out there.
On the Saturday 2 of us travelled back to Dubai to facilitate a referee’s coarse, as they are trying to enroll their own referee’s for some of the tournament’s. It was a fantastic experience and a great insight into the GAA community that is out there.
Advice for anyone interested in becoming a referee:
A few things are essential, firstly learn the rules.. You’d be amazed at how many rules that are actually in the rulebook , but there is good help to be got from our referee administrator with that.
Get good support with you, I have a crew of umpires that I use and I trust them on every decision and you have to work well as a team and also from my club in Colt GAA who are always supporting me.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, we have some really experienced referee’s in this county and they are all willing to help out new referee’s.
I will say there are great rewards in it, getting to know all the clubs around the county, working with other officials on match day and supporting each other.