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George Clancy (rugby union)

George Clancy is an Irish rugby union referee. Clancy refereed at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. He has also refereed in the Pro14, the European Rugby Champions Cup, the Six Nations Championship and the Rugby Championship. Clancy refereed the 2007 Churchill Cup final and the 2009 and 2011 European Challenge Cup finals. Between 2013 and 2017 Clancy also served as a touch judge/assistant referee at five consecutive European Rugby Champions Cup finals.

George Clancy
Birth nameGeorge Clancy
Date of birth (1977-01-12) 12 January 1977 (age 42)
Place of birthLimerick, Ireland
SchoolSt Munchin's College
SpouseEvelyn Clancy
Occupation(s)Revenue Commissioners
Rugby union career
Position(s) Out–half/Fly–half
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
19xx–20xx Bruff R.F.C. ()
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
All-Ireland League
Celtic League/Pro14
FIRA Women's European Championship
European Rugby Challenge Cup
European Rugby Champions Cup
Under 21 Rugby World Championship
Churchill Cup
Test Matches
Rugby World Cup qualifier
Summer Internationals
Six Nations Championship
Rugby Championship
Rugby World Cup


Early lifeEdit

George Clancy is the son of Seoirse and Helen Clancy.[1] He was raised in Bruff and he is the great grandnephew of George Clancy, a former Mayor of Limerick killed during the Irish War of Independence.[2][3] Clancy was educated at St Munchin's College, where his fellow pupils included Marcus Horan and Jerry Flannery. He played rugby union for both St Munchin's and Bruff R.F.C..[4][5][6][7][8] He also played both gaelic football and hurling for Bruff GAA. Clancy also represented Limerick at hurling. Clancy only gave up playing hurling when he was offered an IRFU refereeing contract which prohibited him playing sports that might result in an injury. He remains a hurling fan and he was attending a match between Bruff GAA and Ballybrown GAA when he received a phone call from Paddy O'Brien inviting him to referee the opening match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[1][6][7][8][9] Clancy has a master's degree in international relations and worked as a tax official with the Revenue Commissioners before becoming a full-time referee.[6] Clancy has also lived with type 1 diabetes for over twenty years.[10]

Refereeing careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Clancy was encouraged to become a rugby union referee by his father. Seoirse Clancy was involved with Bruff R.F.C. and had refereed at a local level. He encouraged his son to take up refereeing after injuries, including a broken leg, prevented him from playing rugby union at a top level.[1][6][7] In October 2000 Clancy refereed his first match, an U15s league match between Richmond and Garryowen which ended in a 0–0 draw.[5][11] He subsequently began refereeing games in the All-Ireland League [8] before making his Celtic League debut on 15 October 2004 when he took charge of a match between Borders and Gwent Dragons.[6][7][11][12][13]

European competitionsEdit

On 15 January 2005 Clancy made his Heineken Cup debut when he took charge of a 2004–05 pool stage match between Bourgoin and Bath. He was originally supposed to be the touch judge for this match but after the original referee went sick, Clancy was called upon to replace him.[12][13] On 22 May 2009 Clancy refereed the 2008–09 European Challenge Cup final between Northampton Saints and Bourgoin.[8][14] He also refereed the 2010–11 European Challenge Cup final between Harlequins and Stade Français.[15][16] Between 2013 and 2017 Clancy also served as a touch judge/assistant referee at five consecutive European Rugby Champions Cup finals.[17]

Early internationalsEdit

Clancy refereed at the 2004 FIRA Women's European Championship and at the 2005 and 2006 Under 21 Rugby World Championships. He made his senior international debut on 30 September 2006 when he took charge of a 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifier between Uruguay and the United States. He also refereed the 2007 Churchill Cup final.[8][13][18] In 2008 Clancy refereed his first top level internationals. On 1 June he took charge of a match between England and the Barbarians and on 21 June he refereed a match between South Africa and Italy.[5][11][19] Clancy made his Six Nations Championship debut on 14 February 2009 when he took charge of a match between France and the Scotland.[19][20] Clancy made his Rugby Championship debut on 24 July 2010 when he took charge of a match between Australia and South Africa.[21]

Rugby World CupEdit

Clancy refereed the opening game of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a pool stage game between New Zealand and Tonga.[1][5][9] Clancy subsequently refereed three more pool stage matches during the tournament.[22] Clancy was also selected to referee at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.[23] Clancy refereed three pool stage matches at the 2015 tournament.

Controversies and incidentsEdit

During his refereeing career Clancy has been involved in several controversies and incidents. On his Six Nations Championship debut on 14 February 2009, Clancy awarded a try to France's Fulgence Ouedraogo against Scotland. Replays showed the final pass from Maxime Médard was forward. However, Clancy had been knocked to the ground in the move building up to the score. He consulted with his assistant before confirming the try.[20][22]

On 5 December 2009, after refereeing an All-Ireland League match between Shannon and Cork Constitution, Clancy was verbally abused by Shannon supporters and club officials. Among the alleged abusers was Gerry McLoughlin. After the match had finished Martin Clancy, the Shannon president, entered the referees dressing room and continued to verbally abuse the referee. He was eventually removed by the two touch judges. Shannon were subsequently fined €25,000.[24]

On 13 February 2010 during a match between Wales and Scotland, Clancy sin-binned Scotland's Phil Godman for an alleged off-the-ball trip on Lee Byrne. Byrne was later accused of deliberately diving to help Wales win.[22][25][26]

On 10 April 2010, during a 2009–10 Heineken Cup quarter-final, between Biarritz and Ospreys, Clancy refused to award Ospreys a penalty towards the end of the match after an alleged knock-on by Biarritz's scrum-half, Dimitri Yachvili. The decision denied Ospreys a potential victory.[19][22][27]

On 6 September 2014 Clancy refereed a match between Australia and South Africa. Clancy yellow carded South Africa's Bryan Habana for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper in the 65th minute. According to Paul Cully of The Sydney Morning Herald the decision was incorrect and was "the defining moment" of the match, costing South Africa a potential victory.[28][29]

On 16 September 2017 Clancy was serving as a touch judge during a 2017–18 Pro14 match between Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors. A disgruntled Cardiff Blues fan threw his pint of beer at Clancy because he allegedly was unhappy with a decision made by the officials. The act was caught on camera and the fan was quickly escorted from the ground.[30][31]





  1. ^ a b c d "Limerick mum celebrates son refereeing opening match". 10 September 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Limerick's George chats rugby with the Queen". 16 October 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  3. ^ "'I wouldn't serve that guy again' - Bruff locals react to footballer's comments about 'weird' Limerick village". 18 June 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  4. ^ "St Munchin's College Past Pupils". Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Clancy: Refereeing First Game Is A Huge Honour". 9 September 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Getting to know: George Clancy". 14 December 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "George Clancy Q&A". 19 December 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Clancy's Big Challenge". 23 May 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Rugby World Cup ref told of appointment at hurling game". 7 September 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Limerick: An evening with George Clancy". 9 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Referee: George Clancy". 14 December 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Clancy's rise through ranks leads him to biggest stage of all". 24 May 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "Seven Irish referees awarded with professional contracts". 23 October 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  14. ^ "George Clancy to referee Challenge Cup final". 12 May 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Clancy And Poite To Referee European Finals". 9 May 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Late converted try edges Harlequins to victory over Stade Français". 21 May 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Referees are honoured to officiate at Euro finals". 12 May 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  18. ^ "USA down Los Teros in RWC qualifier". 1 October 2006. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  19. ^ a b c "George Clancy Ireland Profile". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Scotland undone by officiating error". 14 February 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Clancy to Referee in Tri Nations". 9 July 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d "Referee: George Clancy". 7 September 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Rugby World Cup: George Clancy and John Lacey on referee panel". 8 April 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Shannon fined €25,000 for abuse of referee". 14 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Wales' Lee Byrne claims he was tripped by Phil Godman of Scotland". 15 February 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Six Nations 2010: Lee Byrne dived to help Wales win, says Scotland's Phil Godman". 15 February 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Ospreys fume as Clancy lets Biarritz off hook". 10 April 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Irish referee George Clancy slammed for decisions in Australia v South Africa game". 8 September 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  29. ^ "Too many Tests decided by referees' blunders". 7 September 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Limerick ref George Clancy has pint thrown at him by idiot fan ..." 18 September 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  31. ^ "The identity of the Cardiff Blues beer-thrower is a mystery as search is launched following shock incident". 18 September 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.