Referee Level: Local, national
"Try to get involved in a team. It can be the basis for more than you know. Being part of a team gives you a sense of involvement, it can also offer you an outlet for many years long after school or college have finished. I believe there is something in sport for all of us so try everything until you find your fit. Some are great players; some are great officials and others are great coaches."
Can you talk us through your playing background?
I started playing basketball in primary school. I played with my local club in Lucan until I left secondary school. I stopped playing when I left school but got back involved in Basketball in my mid 20’s when I re-joined my local club, which by then were in the process of an amalgamation of a few local clubs which is now Dublin Lions.
How did you get involved in refereeing?
At the time there was an initiative launched in the DOA to recruit referees, as part of this all senior teams playing in Dublin needed to have a registered referee actively participating within the Dublin leagues. I took this opportunity at the time to complete the Intro referee’s course.
What kind of games have you refereed over the years?
I have been lucky to have been given opportunities to be involved at many different levels over the past number of years. I have officiated at local level with both underage and senior level league & cup finals. I moved to National level in 2014 and have been involved in, National Cup and League finals.
Who would you say was a role model for you as a referee and why?
There are have been a few people who have been role model figures for me and all for different reasons.
Declan Dunne was someone at local level who would have been actively involved at national level when I first started out as a referee in 2007, later when I stepped up to national league level he always offered me great advice, encouragement and sometimes just to listen to me after a tough game. Lynda Cassidy, I always admired her knowledge and confidence. When I first started at National level she well established as a referee in the NLOP structure and was a regular go-to for me in rule clarification and interpretations. Emma Perry, over the past few years as a mentor I have looked to her regularly for support, but for her own achievements & as a female official I think her achievements to date have been amazing.
What is the most important thing for you when refereeing younger/teenage boys and girls?
That respect and communication is important, but it doesn’t mean that we are to be feared. I’d like to think that I have shown underage players that it is alright to ask questions in the right manner & that I will always try to answer with the same level of respect.
Have you any tips you'd like to share on keeping girls engaged in sport - particularly in the 14-18-year-old age group?
Try to get involved in a team. It can be the basis for more than you know. Being part of a team gives you a sense of involvement, it can also offer you an outlet for many years long after school or college have finished. I believe there is something in sport for all of us so try everything until you find your fit. Some are great players; some are great officials and others are great coaches.
Any tips you would like to give to young referees who are starting out?
Get yourself out there on the court. Always remember to keep calm. Ask for more from other more senior referees to help you progress. There are so many referees out there more than willing to help you so don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice.
When you first stepped up to National League/International level, were you nervous about the step up and how did you deal with that if so?
Yes, I was extremely nervous; I wasn’t really sure what the experience would bring, I doubted my own ability at first. I learned quite quickly that I needed to just get on with it. Also sharing my experiences helped, once the initial fear left my mind, I started to really enjoy the experience. If I am honest, I still get that feeling regularly but it just reminds me of the importance of every game for different reasons and focuses me to try to push myself more.
What would you say to other female referees who are considering moving up a level in their refereeing careers?
Go for it !! Look around you, there are plenty of women currently stepping up and progressing at a higher level than ever.
How do you measure the success of a game?
To deliver consistency and fairness for everyone.
How do you measure success in broader terms?
For me, it’s happiness in both myself and the people I surround myself with.
How important do you think it is for referees to keep learning and developing regardless of the level of experience?
Learning and developing should not be about ability it should be what we all look to do, to better ourselves.
Knowledge is power and with the constant progression of the game and rule changes, we all need to keep up to date with the latest information.
Have you noticed many changes in Ireland in referees over the years? If so, what?
Yes, I have seen a greater focus on development over the past number of years. This has been evident both locally and nationally.
The introduction of the academy program has given an extremely accessible path for the younger officials to progress, develop and achieve at National League.
What changes would you like to see in basketball refereeing in Ireland in the future?
I would love to see more young referees getting involved and developed earlier. The opportunities to progress to National level are available to them and this can be as equally rewarding to them as playing currently is.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a player?
Everything you do has an effect on someone else when you are playing as part of a team.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a referee?
I make mistakes. I have learned to not let them define me.
Basketball Ireland has a homepage for your refereeing education and development requirements. This page contains all relevant FIBA documents along with training videos and additional material supplied by Basketball Ireland FIBA National Referee Instructor, Paul Dempsey to aid your development/education. Click here to view the page.