Maggie Farrelly is set to become the first female referee to take charge of a game in a senior men’s intercounty competition this evening, when Fermanagh take on St Mary’s at Garvaghey.
Pre-season tournaments such as the McKenna Cup rarely garner huge interest other than offering an indication of how teams’ preparations for the league are coming along. However, Farrelly’s appointment ensures there is plenty of hype around the match.
The game, which was postponed on Sunday, will mark a first in the GAA.
Brian Crowe, who refereed the 2006 All-Ireland Final, spoke to the Belfast Telegraph of his approval of this move.
“In fairness, she has to make the big calls, the big judgment calls, and she is not afraid to make them.”
“The way the Association is running matters, anybody who wants to make it onto the inter-county scene has never been better catered for.
“The structures that are in place for referees, once they do well within their own county, you are put in.
“In fairness to the Ulster Council, they have a referee’s academy and they are the first to introduce this within the Association.
“This has brought a lot of referees, including Maggie, along big time.
“The training available to them has helped them all through the seminars.”
This is a positive step by the GAA, and one that will be well received.
Best of luck to Maggie tonight.