Local girls excel in ‘Grab Your Whistle’ programme

A referee goes unnoticed in a match until they make a call. Then all of a sudden they will have polarised a crowd because a referee making a call will inevitably please one cohort of people and leave another feeling aggrieved, disadvantaged feeling hard done by.

It’s the nature of the beast. Saturday threw up an interesting set of elements in a ladies junior game in Shandonagh. County referee and co-ordinator Paul O’Malley refereeing a game with the latest “fast tracked” referees from the innovative ‘Grab Your Whistle’ programme developed to create a whole new wealth of LGFA referees.

Megan D’Arcy from Ballycomoyle and Nicole Leonard from Shandonagh have been attending the Grab Your Whistle training since autumn 2019, where they were assigned as referee mentors and given workshops that include mental resilience and conflict resolution.

Experts in the fields of technical, physical, mental and tactical development have given their time to online workshops and training days.

Both girls are now being booked to officiate at club games and are already qualified at county level. On Saturday they enjoyed the added bonus of taking to the field with another respected LGFA referee Aisling Carey.

Aisling took part in the LGFA Leadership Programme which was devised to develop the next generation of female leaders within ladies’ Gaelic football alongside Moate’s Trina Murray, graduating in February of this year.