Top Limerick civic honour plan for World Rugby ref of the year Joy Neville

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Referee Joy Neville in action during the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup Final and below, receiving her award in Monaco

Referee Joy Neville in action during the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup Final and below, receiving her award in Monaco Picture: Sportsfile

LEADING Limerick rugby referee Joy Neville is in line to receive Limerick’s top civic honour after scooping a major international award.

Joy won World Rugby’s referee of the year prize at a ceremony in Monaco over the weekend in recognition of a monumental year, which has seen her referee the Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, officiate a men’s international game, and will next month become the first woman to referee a European Challenge Cup match.

Now, northside Independent councillor Frankie Daly has written to Council bosses to propose the North Circular Road woman for a civic reception.

It’s expected the plan will be debated at the next full Council meeting in January.

Cllr Daly said the official has brought a lot of “joy” to Limerick by her achievements.

He added: “I played rugby with her brother Paul at Garryowen. They are a great family, and from great stock. What she has done for Limerick is put our name on the global stage. I felt she needed to be recognised.”

Cllr Daly recalled how he used to travel to the former Jury’s Hotel to go swimming as a teenager in the 1990s and early 2000s, when Joy worked as a lifeguard.

“Many years ago, I would have gone over to Jury’s to go swimming. She used to be the lifeguard. Sometimes if you were short a few bob, she would wave you in. She would always give you a break, a young lad from Thomondgate trying to get over and do a bit of swimming,” he added.

President Michael D Higgins posted a message of congratulations to the referee over the weekend.