Nigel Owens was hugely impressed with the All-Ireland hurling final 4 years ago

Nigel Owens was hugely impressed with the All-Ireland hurling final

International rugby referee Nigel Owens has written glowingly about Limerick's All-Ireland hurling win over Cork earlier this month.

Owens was in Ireland for a PRO14 training camp recently and he became inundated with talk of the final from Irish referees John Lacey and George Clancy.


The Welsh referee spoke with former Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan after officiating the Scarlets friendly against Bristol in Carmarthen over a fortnight ago and the former Leinster utility gave him a bit of crash course on the game.

Owens wrote in his WalesOnline column that Limerick's win reminded him of the power that sport can have on communities.

"The final itself was hugely enjoyable; breathtaking, exciting, bursting with passion. It was fast, brutal at times, skilful, physical and the last 10 minutes was edge-of-your-seat stuff, a thriller won by Limerick to finally end all those years of hurt.

"The scenes of celebration that followed highlighted what it meant to everyone; there were supporters crying in the stands, amateur players were close to tears in their post-match interviews talking about their pride for their family and where they had been brought up.

"I have always felt that sport has this incredible power of uniting communities, uniting countries and it just hit home again watching this wonderful occasion."


Owens revealed recently that he nearly quit from officiating rugby after he received homophobic abuse while refereeing a November international between England and New Zealand at Twickenham.

“It was New Zealand vs England in Twickenham, I’d had a couple of phone calls asking me what I’d thought about the comments that had been shouted at me,” Owens told The Telegraph.

“What we really don’t know and what I don’t know is were they true rugby people or were they people that just came along to that game?

“What was difficult, people talking about it and then everyone in the world knows you’re gay, there’s everything like that. So there was a sense of disappointment, of ‘here we go again’. Even now after all I’ve been through there’s times where it gets you down and gets you scared.”