Joe McQuillan is set to referee Kerry v Dublin in the All Ireland final. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
Kill Shamrocks referee Joe McQuillan will be the man in the middle for the All Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Kerry later this month, The Anglo-Celt can reveal. McQuillan will become the third Cavanman to officiate as referee on the biggest occasion in Irish sport, following on from Butlersbridge's Fintan Tierney (1972) and Brian Crowe of Cavan Gaels (2006).
"It was nice to get it, I'm delighted to get the call," Joe told The Celt yesterday (Tuesday). "The fact that it's a Kerry-Dublin final means that it is a very appealing one. It brings back great memories from the games of the 1970s and '80s and I suppose it's a final that a lot of older GAA fans would love to see."
McQuillan's name had been widely-mentioned in relation to the role and the hype increased when he performed exceptionally well at the quarter-final between Dublin and Tyrone, before being over-looked for the semi-finals. Traditionally, the All Ireland final referee doesn't officiate at a semi-final.
"I knew I wasn't going to be too far away anyway," he said, "and the fact that I didn't get a semi-final was a hint I suppose, they usually use one of the quarter-final referees. I felt when I didn't get a semi-final that I was being held."
McQuillan was informed via a phone call from Croke Park on Monday evening last.
"Once Donegal were beaten I knew I was in with a good chance," he said.
"There will be a lot more pressure but it's just the same game of ball that you have to referee.
"It will be a matter of getting the head right and keeping the nerves down, it's a big match of course but it still has to be reffed the same as every other game, it's not different in that respect."
His umpires on final day - September 18 - will be Tommy O'Reilly, Ciarán Brady, TP Gray (all Kill Shamrocks) and Jimmy Galligan (Killygarry).