By Padraic Ryan
History will be made at the Division 2B game between Sundays Well and Kanturk on Friday evening when Helen O’Reilly becomes the first woman to referee a men’s Ulster Bank League game.
O’Reilly was appointed to the IRFU’s national panel last December, and she will referee games in Divisions 2A and 2B of the Ulster Bank League while she continues her development.
As a member of the national panel, O’Reilly could eventually become eligible to referee Pro12 and Champions Cup matches.
The former Ashbourne and St Mary's player refereed at last year’s Women’s World Cup in Paris, and has also refereed matches in the last two Women’s Six Nations Championships.
IRFU director of referee development Owen Doyle said of O’Reilly: "Helen's appointment is based solely on merit, but as the first female referee to make the panel she must be congratulated.
"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."