Colin takes charge of FAI Youth Cup final
Local whistler Colin Halligan earned the greatest honour of his career, and is likely as high as he will attain since he is beyond the age of officiating at League of Ireland level.
A latecomer to refereeing, Colin at the age of 40 was given charge of the FAI Youths Cup final between the renowned Dublin academy side Belvedere and Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park on Sunday that ended in a 4-1 victory for the former.
He officiated along with three of his fellow members of the Meath branch of Irish Referees Association, with Pat Henry and Robin McManus acting as assistant referees, and Blackrock’s Denis Dullaghan the fourth official. Robin is attached to the Referees School of Excellence.
For Colin, from Bay Estate, it represents the pinnacle of a ten year career that started in the Louth, Monaghan and Cavan League, taking charge of his first ever match at Emyvale.
He has been regular ever since in that league, along with the Meath and District League, Dundalk Junior League, and has wide experience refereeing along in the League of Ireland Under-21 League and the Leinster Senior League.
He sufficiently impressed to be invited to step up to the League of Ireland panel, only age debarred him, and his only regret is that he didn’t take up whistling earlier.
But he is thrilled to have been chosen to oversee a game of such importance as a Youths Cup final that is on a similar level if not as glamorous as a League of Ireland cup final.
Prior to this Colin’s most cherished moments were handling the Meath and District League Cup final and the McConville challenge cup final in the Dundalk Junior League, both of which he was accorded the honour of taking charge of in the one year.
Colin says he “loves refereeing” regardless of the grade that he is in charge, and it was quickly back to the “ bread and butter” on Monday taking charge of a Dundalk Junior League match at Muirhevnamor.
Employed at the ABB factory in town, he is married with four children, and intends to continue at his favourite pastime for some time to come. However, the “lovely medal and match programme” that he received on Sunday will long serve as cherished reminders of his greatest day in his accomplished career.