Coldrick in for red-hot clash
Published 01/06/2013 | 07:59
It is no coincidence that David Coldrick, regarded as the top referee in the country, will be the man in charge when Derry host Down in the Ulster Senior Football Championship on Sunday.
The Ulster Council has laid down a marker that it wants only the leading whistlers to have charge of its showpiece fixtures and Meath man Coldrick certainly fits the bill.
He has taken charge of a number of high-profile games spanning the past three years, including the All-Ireland final between Down and Cork in 2010.
Indeed, many commentators would argue that Coldrick has succeeded Pat McEnaney, currently chairman of the National Referees' Appointments Committee, as the best referee in the game today.
But despite his impressive credentials, Coldrick will nonetheless come under close scrutiny at Celtic Park, following the rather below-par performance of his colleague Joe McQuillan in last Sunday's tie between Donegal and Tyrone at Ballybofey.
The Cavan official turned down Tyrone appeals for what looked like a certain penalty when the rampaging Matthew Donnelly was fouled when ideally placed.
Worse in many peoples eyes, was that he failed to take punitive action against Donegal when three of their players repeatedly encroached within 13 metres of Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan when he was attempting to take long-range frees.
The former Dungannon Swifts shot-stopper Morgan uncharacteristically missed five of his six frees, and to compound what was a miserable outing for him, he gifted Michael Murphy his only point from play via a poor kick-out that eventually ended up in the hands of the Donegal skipper ,who made no mistake.