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Referee David Coldrick is preparing to face the spotlight at Tyrone v Down

By John Campbell

The Ulster Council certainly believe in plumping for the elite when it comes to making refereeing appointments for major championship matches.

Meath whistler David Coldrick, generally regarded as the best in the country, will take charge of the Tyrone v Down game on Sunday.

Coldrick will bring a wealth of experience into play at a time when referees are expected to come under greater scrutiny than ever before.

This will be the first championship season during which the black card disciplinary measure will be implemented and Coldrick's interpretation of this particular aspect of the rules will come under the microscope.

Coldrick is no stranger to the big occasion having been in the man in the middle when Cork and Kerry met in the 2007 All-Ireland final and he was again in charge when Down and Cork crossed swords in the decider three years later.

While the black card sanction has not created too much controversy during the league, the greater intensity and fervour of championship matches will mean that Coldrick must be on his toes at Healy Park.

As well as having officiated at All-Ireland finals, he has also taken charge of matches in the International Rules series and has also handled many provincial championship matches.

An executive with Irish Life, he is known for his firmness and decisiveness even when the exchanges are at their most heated.

"I think being able to read a game allows a referee to know when to let play develop and when he needs to stop it," maintains Coldrick.

And he accepts that enhanced media coverage invariably sees the spotlight fall on referees more and more.

"Social media networking has brought the attention that is focused on referees to another level.

"I think it is worth remembering that referees, not unlike players and managers, can always improve their performance and that is what we strive to do," adds Coldrick.

Belfast Telegraph

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