Referee in Focus- Conor Dourneen


Conor Dourneen





When did you start refereeing?

I’m 23 now, I started when I was 15, I was progressed onto the Provincial Panel at 18 and was then promoted onto the National Panel at 20.

21 March 2015; Referee Conor Dourneen. TESCO All Ireland PPS Senior C Final, Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen, Kildare v Davitt College, Mayo. Pearse Park, Longford Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

What do you think is the toughest part of refereeing?

More times than often Refereeing can be an enjoyable experience, for myself I feel the abuse from spectators can be hard to handle at times, this is usually a huge problem at club games, but I can ensure the general public that Referees are their own worst critic, we hate to get decisions wrong!


What is your favourite aspect of refereeing?

The big game appointments, it’s what every referees strides for at national level, although within the refereeing circle there’s great fun and since I’ve started at it, I’ve made great friends!


If you could change one thing about refereeing what would it be?

I think an introduction of a microphone on our referees (rugby style) for TV games would be of great benefit to us; at least the public can actually see and hear the reason why we’ve made our decisions.


If there was one rule you would like managers to be more aware of what would it be?

Probably wouldn’t be so much A rule, but I’ve found myself there has been an increase in Managers/Officials coming from the Men’s football into the ladies in the last few years, and these managers/officials I find some become frustrated with us as referees when where applying the rules! For example the No Shoulder creates big debate with them! So I suppose maybe to help this matter these mentors could be put through a rules refresher, just to enlighten them on the differences.


If there was one rule you would like players to be more aware of what would it be?

In general playing members of the LGFA are very well tutored in the playing rules, but I suppose the rule in persistent fouling can often cause confusion for the ladies themselves.


Most embarrassing moment on the field:

 Probably giving the wrong colour of card to a player and pointing the wrong way for a free, very embarrassing I feel and makes you look silly.






The highest point of your career to date:

 Umpire in the All Ireland Men’s Senior Championship Final last year (2015) fantastic occasion and also being appointed to take charge of this year’s Ulster Ladies Final, and my own County Senior Final. (2016)


What advice would you give to upcoming referees?

 Stick at it, it’s going to be tough, but believe me the bad times cancel the good times out, it’s great fun and really enjoyable.


Sportsperson you would most like to meet:

Premier League Referee Mark Clattenburg, also Michael Phelps, any person who wins 21 Gold Medals at the Olympics deserves a mention.


What other sports are you interested in?

 I suppose I love following the soccer, the cycling to serious to watch during the big tournaments, but once the GAA season ends its great to unwind and relax.


Last film you watched:

The Conjuring 2 (I was dragged along to watch it!!)


If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

West Palm Beach, Florida.


What would you not leave home without?

My Granny’s rosary beads, I always make sure there in my kit-bag on match days, wouldn’t leave without them!


What is your ultimate goal as a referee?

 To Referee the Senior All Ireland Football Championship Final.

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