Saturday 27 December 2014

A new dawn for the GAA with history maker Maggie Farrelly

Published 03/02/2014 | 13:41

1 February 2014; Fourth official, Maggie Farrelly, collects a team sheet from referee David Coldrick before the game. Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 1, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Fourth official, Maggie Farrelly, collects a team sheet from referee David Coldrick before the game
Fourth official, Maggie Farrelly, checks her watch towards the end of the first half.

A Dublin victory, a controversial red card and Paul Galvin’s retirement stole the headlines on a Saturday night when Maggie Farrelly created history at Croke Park.

The Cavan woman became the first female to officiate a men’s inter-county game at Croke Park and has received widespread acclaim for her achievement.

She was part of David Coldrick’s team that oversaw Dublin’s one point victory over the Kingdom, not that she would have been overawed by the occasion.

The Ulster Sports Academy Development and Coaching Msc student has been refereeing male club games in Cavan for the past eight years after her club Laragh asked if she would be interested.

Referee Coldrick had a busy game, including the issuing of a red card for Dublin defender Sean George for an off-the-ball incident after consultation with his fellow officials.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was not pleased with the performance of Coldrick on the night and suggested that Farrelly could have possibly handled the job in a better fashion.

“She (Farrelly) might have done a better job on refereeing the match maybe,” he said afterwards while praising the decision of the Association to introduce female officials.

Farrelly’s appointment is expected to be the start of change and the Cavan woman appreciates the significance of her role on Saturday night.

“I think my appointment demonstrates the inclusiveness of the GAA as a whole,” she said.

“They believe in my ability and provide the opportunities and it’s up to me to take them on and fulfill my duties to the best of my ability.”

On the night it was a victory for Dublin, but also a victory for change.

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