Mick Monahan

In 2005 Mick Monahan followed in the footsteps of fellow clubman the late Peter Waters when refereeing an All-Ireland Senior Football Final. That final between Tyrone and Kerry has been the highlight of what has been an extremely successful refereeing career for Mick. On the Inter-County front Mick has also officiated in an All-Ireland Club Championship Final (2004), an All-Ireland Minor Football Final (2000), an All-Ireland Colleges ‘A’ Championship Final (2002), Leinster (2004), Munster (2002), Connacht (2003) and Ulster (2006) Senior Football Championship Finals, a Leinster Club Championship Final (2001), three Leinster Colleges ‘A’ Championship Finals (2000, 2001 & 2002), a Leinster Under-21 Championship Final (2000) and a Leinster Junior Championship Final (1999). On the Kildare club scene Mick has taken charge of four Senior Football Championship Finals (2000, 2002, 2003 & 2005), an Intermediate Football Championship Final (2004), a Junior Football Championship Final (1996), two Under-21 Football Championship Finals (1998 & 2001), a Minor Football Championship Final (1999) and a Senior ‘B’ Football Championship Final (1997). Mick’s reputation as one of the best in the business is further supported by the fact that he has been voted Kildare’s Referee of the Year on five occasions (1996, 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2005). He was also awarded the Vodafone Referee of the Year accolade for 2005, the same year as he picked up a Kildare Osprey Sports Personality Award (KOSPA).

Before he became a referee Mick was a successful player with the great Raheens teams of the late Seventies and early Eighties. His playing career as a senior player began in 1978 as an eighteen year old when he played on the Raheens team that won the Leinster Leader Cup. Senior Championship medals were won in 1978, 1979 and 1981 and a Leinster Club SFC medal came his way in the 1981/82 season.

Mick was still playing football when the County Board made one of their many calls for players to become referees. Mick put his name forward and to his surprise Pierce Freaney (referees coordinator) rang him a week later to do a match. For that first game Mick kitted himself out in Raheens socks and knicks and a rugby shirt. In taking up the whistle Mick followed a path that had also been taken by his late father-in-law, Paddy Moore of Carbury and Moorefield fame. That was more than a decade ago and since then Mick has risen to become one of the most well-known and respected referees in the country.

It is a well established GAA tradition that the referee is accompanied to all games by their own umpires, generally from his own club. John Joe Byrne, Kieran O’Donnell, John O’Toole and Jack Monahan (Mick’s brother) generally travel with Mick while Patsy Power and Noel Connolly provide cover. In an interview with the Leinster Leader prior to the 2005 All-Ireland Football Final Mick made the following comments regarding his umpires:- “We travel together to all the games; the camaraderie is a very important part of it all to me. I rely on them an awful lot and it would be a lot harder going on your own. I am very close to them and it’s great that they will be with me on Sunday, especially Jack. I have been with them for seven years, I trust them and they are an integral part of the refereeing assignment. I feel confident with them there although I know we can all make mistakes. I know if I have to consult them they will tell me exactly what they saw and you couldn’t be as sure with somebody you didn’t know and I think every referee would feel better with their own team.”

While Mick relies on his umpires in a job that can be a difficult, time consuming and often lonely one, he is always quick to point out that without the support of his wife Ann Marie and his children Justin, Patrick, Eoin and Paul he wouldn’t have achieved the success he has to date. His family are rightly very proud of Mick’s achievements; a sentiment that is shared by all in Raheens.

John Joe Byrne, Jack Monahan, Mick Monahan, John O'Toole & Kieran O'Donnell before the All Ireland Final

Mick Monahan with Brian Dooher and Declan O'Sullivan.