Legendary Offaly referee receives 'special' gift from Laois colleagues as he retires from work

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Legendary Offaly referee receives special gift from colleagues as he retires from work

Legendary Offaly referee receives special gift from colleagues as he retires from work

Veteran Offaly GAA referee Noel Cooney retired from work in Irish Dairy Services in Portlaoise recently and one of their suppliers got payback for years of banter with the Pullough native by presenting him with a jersey, describing him as Laois' “number 1 supporter”.

Noel, a long time resident in Tullamore, is pictured here proudly wearing the jersy that also has his age, 73 on the back. Still refereeing, he has been one of the top football referees in Offaly since the 1980s and has refereed finals at all grades in football in Offaly, as well as being an inter-county referee in the 1990s.

He has also proven a capable hurling referee, taking charge of senior hurling games in the county, and his longevity has been truly remarkable.

A real fitness enthusiast who still trains daily and an Irish dance activist, he intends refereeing again when this season recommences.

A very obliging man with a great personality and wit, Noel really enjoyed his time working in Portlaoise, where he reveled in banter and fun about GAA affairs with work colleagues. The jersey has an Offaly crest on one arm and no doubt, Noel will keep it as a treasured memento of his years of work with Irish Dairy Services.