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Maggie Farrelly has an assured debut with the whistle

It was a referee's dream ticket - not a card of any colour in sight, controversy conspicuous by its absence and plaudits from all quarters at the end.

But Maggie Farrelly has been involved in refereeing long enough to recognise it will not always be as straightforward as this.

In making her debut as a championship whistler, albeit in the minor sector, the Cavan lady set down a marker that more significant missions are well within her gambit.

There was no element of beginner's luck, either, surrounding her accomplished display of authority in a Fermanagh v Antrim tie that bubbled nicely at Brewster Park, Enniskillen yesterday without boiling over.

This was due in no small measure not only to Maggie's vigilance in relation to infringements but also to the adept manner in which she demonstrated just why particular decisions were given - male referees, please take note.

Perhaps on a couple of occasions she may have erred on the side of leniency but certainly not to the detriment of a contest that built to a tingling climax.

A coherent understanding with her fellow officials and the ability to always keep up with the play - she was rarely more than a few yards away - underlined that she was right on top of her game.

Perhaps the free count was high but then she was there to implement, not ignore, the rules.

After this performance, Maggie can today certainly whistle a happy tune.

Belfast Telegraph

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