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Frank climbs ranks as referee in Ireland

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Former Leicester Tigers scrum-half Frank Murphy has been promoted to the Irish RFU National Panel of referees.Murphy, who scored a try in the Premiership Final win against Gloucester and also started the Heineken Cup Final for Tigers in 2006/07, subsequently made more than 100 appearances for Connacht and has been progressing quickly through the Inter Provincial Appointments System as a match official.   Murphy retired from professional rugby at the end of last season having represented Munster, Leicester and Connacht during a 13-year professional career.    Capped eight times by Ireland ‘A’, Murphy began his refereeing career almost immediately following his retirement as a player and his first game as part of the National Panel will be the Ulster Bank League Division 2b clash between Armagh and Bruff on Saturday, February 28.   Murphy is also a freelance illustrator and designer.   “Refereeing was initially a way of staying involved in the game,” he said. “I'm enjoying it and still trying to find my feet, but it has been an enjoyable experience.” Owen Doyle, IRFU director of referees, said: "It is very encouraging that another elite player has taken up refereeing. Frank brings his natural game instinct and knowledge to the role. Now that he has progressed very quickly on to the National Panels, we will watch his future performances and development very closely.”