Recipients of Shanagher Morrison Referee Fund scholarship announced

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – USA Rugby announced Tuesday the three recipients of the Shanagher Morrison Referee Fund scholarship, named after two of USA Rugby’s most accomplished referees – Don Morrison and Denis Shanagher.

Chris O’Malley, Matt Reilly, and Caroline Walters will attend the South African Referee Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch, South Africa, for two months.

“Last year’s candidates set the bar high for social media interaction, and I am looking forward to seeing this year’s referees showcase all the different opportunities to improve their referee skills at the SARA academy,” USA Rugby Referee Development Manager Marc Nelson said. “This year we were lucky to be able to select three referees under the age of 25 and give them the opportunity to develop in a full-time academy, they each will referee more games in two months than most referees can referee in the U.S. in two years.”

O’Malley has recently attended the Auckland Referee Academy and is curious to see the difference between the different countries’ setups. He is one of the most active referees in his local referee organization of Minnesota, and says he has far surpassed a level of rugby by picking up the whistle than he ever would have seen by continuing a player career.

Walters started refereeing as a result of the Try On Rugby program USA Rugby held last April.

“Refereeing has given me an entirely new perspective on the sport and I love being able to be in the action of the match and orchestrate the competitive game,” she said.

“Matt Reilly is serious, committed, and has the greatest potential I have seen in a long time,” USA National Panel Referee Ed Gardner said. “His exposure to the highest levels of collegiate play will be enormously beneficial as he moves up the refereeing ladder.”

The Shanagher Morrison Referee Fund is made possible by individuals from the community. To help an aspiring referee hone their skills and partake in a once-in-lifetime opportunity by making a gift to USA Rugby Trust. Visit the Trust website or click the link below, then select the Shanagher Morrison Referee Fund from the program dropdown menu.

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