It has been a memorable season for Ulster refereeing, with officials from across the province taking charge of some of the biggest games of the year.
Last weekend’s All Ireland Senior Football Final between Kerry and Galway was officiated by Tyrone’s Sean Hurson, his first appointment to football’s showpiece game.
Galbally Pearses’ club man Hurson had a year to remember, having also taken charge of the AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Football Final between Kilcoo and Kilmacud Crokes back in February, as well as the Ulster Senior Final between Derry and Donegal in Clones in May.
Derry whistler Barry Cassidy was linesman for Sunday’s All-Ireland Final, while Antrim and Moneyglass man Sean Laverty performed the role of sideline official. Bellaghy club man Cassidy also refereed the inaugural Tailteann Cup Final between Cavan and Westmeath at Croke Park earlier in July.
The Nickey Rackard Cup Final between Tyrone and Roscommon was refereed by Antrim and St Galls’ Colm McDonald.
This weekend sees another Ulster referee officiating at the top level in Croke Park, with Cavan and Laragh United’s Maggie Farrelly taking charge of the All-Ireland Ladies Football Final between Meath and Kerry on Sunday, her second final.
Farrelly made history back in February as the first woman to referee a men’s Allianz League football match when she refereed the Division Four Football fixture between Leitrim and London at the Connacht Centre of Excellence.
This year’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Final was handled by Fermanagh and Erne Gaels man Niall Cullen, who also refereed the Allianz Football League Division Two final earlier in the season.
That game just was one of several Allianz League deciders appointed to Ulster officials. The Division One Football Final between Kerry and Mayo was refereed by Cavan and Cavan Gaels clubman Noel Mooney, while the Division 2B Hurling Final was taken charge of by Antrim and Dunloy man Colum Cunning, and the Division 3B Hurling Final by Derry and Ballinascreen’s Tarlach Conway.
There were notable Provincial Final appointments for Ulster referees as well, with Cavan and Kill Shamrocks’ Joe McQuillan overseeing the Connacht Football Final, while Monaghan and Corduff man Martin McNally officiated the Munster Football Final.
Meanwhile, the biggest game in schools’ football, the Hogan Cup Final, was officiated by Down and Drumgath’s Paul Faloon.
Ulster GAA Referees Committee Chairperson, Sean Rooney commented:
“2022 has been a brilliant year for Ulster Referees, particularly on the national stage. We currently have seven football referees and one hurling referee on the National Referees Championship panel.
“This season saw numerous Ulster referees taking charge of Provincial Championship Finals and National Finals, while the appointment of Sean Hurson to referee the AIB All-Ireland Senior Football Final emphasises the high level of our match officials.
“The Ulster Referees Committee work hard with our County Referees Administrators and such achievements are testament to the work being done within our counties in referee development. We will continue to progress this area of work through our Referees Pathway and it is hugely satisfying to see Ulster referees performing at the highest level.”