Gaelic Football

Maggie Farrelly To Become First Female Referee To Officiate Senior Men’s County Final

Maggie Farrelly is to make history once again when she takes charge of Cavan’s final between Gowna and Ramor United this Sunday.

She becomes the first female to referee a senior men’s county football final in doing so and is well acclimatised to such record breaking in the past.

This weekend’s battle marks a replica too, given the sides drew 0-10 to 0-10 yesterday the replay fixture was then scheduled for Kingspan Breffni on November 14th.

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Having been the first woman  to referee a men’s intercounty clash in 2015, and a similar senior meeting in 2016, she has a wealth of experience under her belt as one of the country’s most accomplished officials.

While this accolade has been celebrated by many onlookers, Farrelly herself isn’t keen to dwell on the matter, instead longing for the day the gender suffix gender isn’t even thought about.

Speaking at a Sport Ireland webinar earlier this year The Breffni native remarked how in future she hopes “that we can take these words away, that it is no longer about gender, that it is just a referee that turns up to referee a game.”

“We shouldn’t have to distinguish between male or female referees, that it is just a referee.”

“Starting out when I made my debut as an inter-county GAA referee, ‘history making’, ‘barriers’, and ‘gender’, all that kind of terminology was used,” she said.

“Hopefully these headlines will be diminished, the glass ceiling is broken, and many more people will follow in the footsteps of the likes of myself.”

Opportunities to do just that are surfacing regularly, namely the LGFA’s ‘Grab Your Whistle Referee Academy’ being one.

In tandem with Sport Ireland’s support and funding the organisation are encouraging aspiring participants between the ages of 18 – 35 years who already referee in their county to work with experts in the field such as Farrelly in order to progress their knowledge and experience.

Applicants can apply here but must do so before the 22nd of November.

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Alanna Cunnane

Alanna is a Journalism student in Dublin City University and is passionate about all sport - in particular Ladies Football and Soccer! Alanna has made contributions to Ocean FM, the Final Whistle, the Sligo Champion and the Connacht Telegraph! She even has hosts her own podcast called 'Are You Still Listening?'
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