A lot of cool things have happened. Monday, I did a bit on the concept2 and stairmaster and ran some sprints at the University of Limerick gym – not a bad facility at all, think I may get a membership when I move to that side of town next week! Tuesday, lifted with free weights for the first time in like a year whilst a couple other referees trained with their S&C coach. (Sorry but I ain’t naming names.) That evening, I attended my first M.A.R. weekly meeting at the Castletroy Hotel, got the sweetest set of kit of all time, and an IRFU panel ref showed some clips on the breakdown. Everyone was very kind and welcoming. Wednesday, I was invited by the local referee coach to come run the line for him that afternoon at Glenstal, and afterwards he introduced me to a former Irish international/British & Irish Lion and his lovely wife. (I pretended to be normal and not know who he was while I almost peed my pants!) Wednesday evening was my first official assignment… as AR2 at THOMOND PARK – on the main pitch, under the lights! It’s a shame the weather was so cold and wet because the kids had to be better handlers than what was displayed. Still a cracking game, and I nearly cried during time off for an injury in the second half, just so overwhelmed by the emotion of actually being there. (Don’t worry, I checked myself before I wrecked myself! 🙂 Thursday, I went back out to UL to see a Munster training!! Saw all my heroes and mancrushes up close!!! It was crazy fast and intense, but still amusing to see lads wearing beanies with the pom-pom on top making tackles haha. Only took one photo: at the very end when they were all huddled up. At some point I hope I get to hear the team sing, “Stand Up And Fight.” That night I went again to my buddy’s parents’ house to play Texas Hold-Em! Won the first couple hands but they took my ten euro again – whatever it’s great craic. Friday, I reviewed a webinar I’m hosting for my home society in a couple days (about Space and Positioning,) and watched Nadal play in the ATP final tournament – he won the match but not well enough to go though to the semifinals. C’est la vie I reckon.
Today, the reason I made this trip finally arrived. I refereed my first game here. It was so special in so many ways, it warrants its own post. Actually I did post about it on Facebook, maybe that counts…
For now, I must rest. Attempted to see Damien Dempsey’s sold-out show tonight at Dolan’s Warehouse after watching the second half of Ospreys v Munster at a pub with lots of other excited people (they mauled in the bonus point try at the end!!), but my buddy’s last-minute attempt to get me on the list was just a wee bit too late. No big whoop though, went to Bobby Byrne’s and got fish and chips for dinner again!
My match today was nothing short of a gift from God. Had to consciously not smile too much! Had a great debrief with the assessor – can’t wait to read the performance review!! Onwards and upwards! 🙂