Mould-breaker Maggie Farrelly named on referees’ panel for National League

Maggie Farrelly is in line to take charge of at least one Allianz Football League game in the coming weeks after her elevation to the national referees’ panel for the competition.

he Cavan official is one of 40 referees who can be called upon to take charge of some of the 116 games scheduled between now and the beginning of April.

She has already broken a number of glass ceilings by being the first female referee to take charge of last year’s Cavan senior final replay between Ramor United and Gowna, having previously refereed Ulster Championship games at underage level and a McKenna Cup game.

This weekend she has been named to referee the All-Ireland JFC club semi-final between Kilmeena and Clonbullogue.

Meanwhile, the GAA’s management committee has provided a derogation on the rules governing cynical play in hurling and football by adding the ‘rule of thumb’ consideration to where a referee can call a penalty and issue a black card in football and hurling.

A motion from the Standing Committee On Playing Rules to Congress, which Central Council approved last November, will allow for penalties in both codes to be awarded inside the 20-metre line but not within 25 metres infield of the sideline.

On a full-sized pitch, 90 metres in width, that shrinks the area in which a penalty and 10-minute sin-bin can apply by 1,000 square metres. The ‘rule of thumb’ is how the motion asks referees to gauge where the foul occurs as there are no lines from the end-line to the 20-metre line to guide them.

The derogation allows for the new parameters to apply in the leagues until Congress either approves or rejects the motion at the end of February.

It is a response to the reaction over Clare’s Aidan McCarthy’s foul almost out on the sideline on Tipperary’s Jake Morris which referee James Owens deemed cynical, a goalscoring opportunity and within the 20-metre line, constituting a penalty which Jason Forde. With McCarthy off the field for 10 minutes, Tipp went on to turn the game in their favour, prompting much controversy over the decision.

A penalty/sin-bin will only apply in hurling if a cynical foul in this area is committed on the player in possession. In football a player not in possession but impeded by a body collide in the right area can also be awarded a penalty with the player committing the foul liable to a 10-minute sin bin.

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