Referee Mairead Dullea encouraging a new generation to walk the line

June 8th, 2020 8:42 AM

By Ger McCarthy

Mairead Dullea was presented with her Officiating medallion by LGFA President Marie Hickey during the Learn to Lead LGFA Female Leadership Programme graduation evening earlier this year.

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BANTRY Blues footballer and LGFA referee Mairead Dullea is encouraging a new generation of officials and linespersons to get involved in ladies football’s latest programme.

The LGFA’s decision to build on the success of their ‘Learn to Lead’ Female Leadership programme has seen the development of a new linesperson training module.

Devised to develop the next generation of female leaders within Ladies Gaelic Football through courses delivered by experts in the fields of coaching, officiating, administration and PR/Media, the LGFA’s future planning continues to attract an increased number of women to ladies football.

Bantry Blues footballer and Cork LGFA referee Mairead Dullea was one of 20 graduates from the LGFA’s recent ‘Learn to Lead’ Female Leadership programme. Now, Dullea has lent her voice to the latest linesperson initiative, delivering a new training module via a series of webinars in an attempt to increase the number of ladies football match officials around the country.

‘From my own experience, I started back in 2018 and being on the side-line is different from being an official but you get the experience of working as part of a team,’ Mairead Dullea said.

‘If you are interested in one day getting involved in officiating then being a linesperson first makes the step up less daunting than going down the refereeing route straightaway. The amount of experience you get from being a linesperson and working with more experienced referees is invaluable.

‘It has definitely helped me improve as a referee. So, for anyone that wants to get involved in officiating, being a linesperson is a brilliant way to begin.

‘Working as a part of an officiating team opens your eyes to all the pre-match preparation that goes on as well, all the ins and outs, especially for the big inter-county or club games.

‘If you are an individual hoping to become a referee in the next year or two then being a linesperson will help you with your approach to games, your pre-match preparation and a very good experience.’

Being on the side-line offers a linesperson the perfect vantage point to helping a match official and getting used to being part of an officiating team.

‘When you are running the line, you are part of a team and sometimes miked up as well so you can communicate with your fellow officials,’ Dullea said.

‘The beauty of this LGFA programme is that you are trained for dealing with mentors and others along the side-line.

‘Obviously, you are already equipped with the rules of the game, but you have the training behind you to build up your confidence for dealing with anyone you encounter along the way.

‘You are never alone either and can call the referee in if needs be. Players and people respect you for the job you are doing so it would be great to have a few more females involved in a female sport.’

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