Dermot Blake began refereeing in Limerick while working in a school in 2005 but it wasn’t until the following 2006/07 season that he decided to get serious and he says that he is delighted that he did…

Blake says: “I got excellent coaching from the likes of Noel Moore and John Cole in while in Limerick and this excellent coaching continued when I moved back to Dublin and joined the ARLB with the likes of Tom Aplin guiding me along the way.

“I was lucky enough to advance through each level at the first time of asking until I made it to the national panel for the 2009/10 season. It was not easy getting there but it was worth every bit of effort. I studied my game to find weaknesses to improve on while always focussing on my fitness level.

“My first venture into the AIL was a trip to Magherafelt, Co. Derry for Rainey Old Boys v Sundays Well. Despite my nerves, with it being my first AIL experience, it was thoroughly enjoyable and simply made me hungrier for more.

“The game was more competitive than what I was used and the speed of the AIL games was something I had to get used to very fast.”