Armagh launch first Referee Development Academy

Armagh GAA has launched its first Referee Development Academy for the county. A new and exclusive academy specifically for young people aged 16+ to develop skills and begin their refereeing journey

To mark the announcement and get the Referee Development Academy underway an Open Night will take place on Thursday 9th March, from 7.30pm at the Box-It Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

Launching the initiative, Referees Administrator Henry McCloy commented.

“We are delighted to launch our first-ever Referee Development Academy, which is a completely new and fresh approach to recruiting and retaining referees.

“This 3-year pilot programme has been designed specifically to work with young people to develop their knowledge and skills, to enable them to become operational and experienced referees.

“We are inviting young people aged 16+ to come along to our Academy Open Night (Thurs 9th March), to hear about the exciting plans, details of training, expectations and incentives will you receive for being part of our new development squads.”

Three development squads

The Academy will operate three development squads:

  • Intern Academy Squad (16-18 years)
  • Youth Academy Squad (18-21 years)
  • Senior Academy Squad (21+ years)

Each development squad will have specific training and support to develop and upskill individuals for club go-games, underage teams and Orchard Academy Squads while continuing to progress to adult level games. For more details on each development squad visit

Welcoming this new Referee Development Academy, Chairman Paul McArdle said,

“It’s been widely talked about at county board meetings not only in Armagh but across the association that we have a huge shortage of referees. We need a plan to help address this issue from the grassroots up. We need to start this process now. Otherwise we will have lost more time and possibly more people who may be interested in picking up the whistle.

“Just like our football and hurling development squads we will now operate our first-ever Referee Development Academy. I’m asking all our clubs and local post-primary schools to support this initiative by encouraging young people to come along to the Open Night and be part of this new and exciting initiative.

“We look forward to welcoming our young people on board. We will continue to take on board their views to develop this pilot into a long-term solution for our club underage and adult games.”

The 3-year pilot programme has been developed in conjunction with the provincial pathway to develop and recruit referees.

All details will be available at the Referee Development Academy Open Night.  For more information visit

Armagh GAA has launched its first Referee Development Academy for the county. A new and exclusive academy specifically for young people