22 November, 2011

Corkman becomes first Irish ref to take charge of UEFA Champions League (Group Stage) tie:

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            Cork's Alan Kelly has become the first Irishman to take charge of a UEFA Champions League Group Stage tie.  He was the whistler at the clash of Real Madrid v Dinamo Zagreb at Santiago Bernabeau tonight.  The game finished in a 6-2 victory for the home side.  Whilst the win was expected (if not by such a large margin);  there were no red cards or penalties; meaning it was a quiet night for the Ballincollig native, taking charge of his first game at Spain's premier stadium.
            Alan Kelly, now has a decent chance of being selected for UEFA Euro 2012's match official delegation.  Kelly, who is the manager of Rochestown Park Hotel Gym & Spa, has refereed numerous international matches;  including European Championship and FIFA World Cup qualification ties;  dating back to 2004 appropriately enough (considering Ireland's play-off opponent for Euro 2012) in Talinn, where the home side (Estonia) defeated Kazachstan after a controversial (but correct) red card decision from the Cork man.
SANTIAGO BERNABÉU:  Home of Real Madrid Club De Futbal
             Kelly has consistently proven himself to be Ireland's top FIFA referee and will hope to head east next summer for what would be (for now) the highlight of his career.  After that, who knows, maybe 2014 and a jaunt to the true home of football (Brasil) and the FIFA World Cup will await?
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