Council Chair hosts a reception for Maggie Farrelly

13th March 2023

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Margaret Farrelly 2

Fellow Councillors, ladies and gentlemen

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here to The Grange, Omagh this afternoon for this reception in honour of Maggie Farrelly.  I pay a particular warm welcome to you Maggie.

Maggie, I know you have always had a passion for football, however, you were particularly keen to be involved in coaching.  You got involved in refereeing by accident when your own club, Laragh United, asked you to referee and you agreed thinking that you would be only refereeing Juvenile games.

However, this was the start of your history making achievements as you were the first female to referee a men’s game.

You completed the refereeing course and started with refereeing Reserve matches before progressing through to Division one matches and Championships.

In 2011 you were nominated to the Ulster Referees Academy and, from this, you progressed on to the Ulster Referees Panel and you were the first female to be included on the Men’s National Support Panel.  In 2022, you were also the first female to make the Men’s National League Panel.

A significant breakthrough came in 2014 when you refereed the All Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship in Croke Park.  You had this honour again in July 2022 when you refereed the final between Meath and Kerry.

You also made history on 31 May 2015 when you refereed the Men’s Minor Championship quarter final between Fermanagh and Antrim in Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

Further history was made when you were the first female to referee a men’s Senior County Final on 14 November 2021.  The was in your native County Cavan.

In February 2022 you also became the first female to referee in the Allianz League when you refereed the Division 4 clash between London and Leitrim.

Being a referee can have good days and bad days, however, I know you are committed to ensure the good days outweigh the bad ones.

The esteem in which you are held in the GAA community has seen you selected to be an ambassador for Supervalu’s Community Includes Everyone campaign.  This campaign is entering its 14th year and aims to encourage everyone in the GAA community to ensure their community in diverse and inclusive.  I am confident that with your success, passion for the game, your skills and the leadership you show in the field, you carry out this role to the same high standard as your refereeing.

On behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and on my own behalf, Maggie, would like to commend you on your success as a referee.  You are a role model for everyone.  You have shown that if you have commitment, skills, attention to detail and passion, you can achieve success and be at the top of whatever goal you choose to pursue.

You have done yourself, your County and your District proud and I wish you continued success in the future.

Thank you.