Whistler Lyons handed first All-Ireland Final

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Referee Colm Lyons during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Clare and Wexford at the FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

COLM Lyons of Cork (Nemo Rangers) will referee his first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final when he takes charge of Limerick and Kilkenny at Croke Park today.

His appointment for final duty is the first of a Corkman since Diarmuid Kirwan officiated the 2009 showpiece.

“It’s a huge privilege to be appointed to the All-Ireland final,” he said.
“Only one referee each year gets to have that huge honour.”

Lyons has taken charge of championship matches involving both finalists this year. He officiated the drawn Clare-Limerick Munster round robin game in Cusack Park, Ennis and Galway-Kilkenny Leinster group match in Salthill.

His day job is Principal of Crosshaven Boys National School.

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In Ennis, Lyons harshly handed a couple of yellow cards to Gearóid Hegarty which earned the towering St. Patrick’s stalwart dismissal ten minutes from the finish of a thrilling encounter. The brandishing of the second yellow was dubious.

At national level, Lyons was on duty for the 2012 All-Ireland Minor and ’18 All-Ireland club final.

Liam Gordon of Galway is standby referee/linesman and Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow) is on the other line. Tipperary’s Michael Kennedy is the sideline official. Lyons will also be helped by Ciarán Hanley, Johnny Barry, Philip Mackey, and Finian Mullane who have been picked as umpires.

Limerick has supplied its share of All-Ireland Senior Final referees over the years, including John Sheehy (1890), Michael F. Crowe (1904, ’05, ’07, ’09, ’10, ’12 and ’13), Denis Lanigan (1927), William O’Donoghue (1951 and ’52), Tom O’Sullivan (1956), Stephen Gleeson (1957), Gerry Fitzgerald (1959 and ’61), Seán O’Connor (1969 and ’75), Seán O’Grady (1977) Neily Duggan (1983), Terence Murray (1987 and ‘93) and Pat O’Connor (1999 and ’01 and ‘03).

Only for Limerick’ great run of success, Johnny Murphy of Glenroe would by now sure also have refereed an All-Ireland Senior Final.