Last Monday morning brought some unexpected, but welcome new for Niall Cullen when he got the call to tell him he had been selected as sideline official for the biggest day in the Irish sporting calendar, All-Ireland football finals day.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said the Erne Gaels club man. “You always hope to get something on the big day, but there’s a lot of other people there in contention, so it was a big shock and I was delighted to get the call.
“It’s a massive honour for the family and the club and it’s something I’ll remember forever. I’m looking forward to it and hoping everything goes alright on the day.”
While this is his biggest honour yet, Cullen has already accumulated an impressive CV at Headquarters. Last month he ran the sideline during the semi-final replay between Mayo and Kerry, and was also linesman for the minor final last year.
Earlier this year he refereed this intermediate club final between Westport and St Colmcille’s and prior to that had taken charge of the junior club final between Ardnaree and Templenoe in 2016. In 2015 he took charge of the NFL division 4 final between Longford and Offaly and earlier that year he was linesman for the Junior club final between John Mitchel’s and Brosna.
The referee for the hotly anticipated final between Dublin and Mayo on September 17 is Cavan’s Joe McQuillan. This will be McQuillan’s third senior final having previously taken charge of the 2011 and 2013 deciders.
All his assistants are top officials, so Cullen’s call up is a significant mark of how highly he is rated.
Cork’s Conor Lane will be the standby referee while the other linesman is Padraig O’Sullivan of Kerry.
Posted: 9:33 am September 17, 2017