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Whistler Maggie Farrelly may just move on to much greater things

By Declan Bogue

Published 03/06/2015

Maggie Farrelly pictured with Conor Small and Cian McManus
Maggie Farrelly pictured with Conor Small and Cian McManus

Fair play to Maggie Farrelly, the Cavan whistler who became the first female to referee a Championship match when she took control of the clash between Fermanagh and Antrim minors last Sunday.

A great day for the GAA and a great day for Cavan. Powerful altogether.

The image of the dusty old GAA, with the visions of middle-aged men using it as a means of escaping their home lives, has taken a battering in recent times.

Back in December, Eglish clubperson Roisín Jordan became the first ever county Chair when she succeeded Ciaran McLaughlin in Tyrone.

On many fronts, Tyrone have held their own as arch-conservatives, but by electing Jordan they drew much admiration from far and wide.

Could it be an Ulster thing, this willingness to allow women to succeed in a male-dominated world?

The northern province is often painted as the sternest, the most opposed to change but the evidence would show that they are, in fact, the ground-breakers.

Onto the football.

Maggie made mistakes, as will every referee, but the opportunity exists to grow into her role.

Sunday was hailed, recognised and given the publicity this landmark deserves.

Now that it is done, though, Farrelly deserves no more or less favourable coverage than any other official.

And when that day arrives, that's when we will know that real progress has been made.

Belfast Telegraph

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