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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

All-Irish officiating team take charge of historic Euro 2021 qualifier in Spain

It was the first time that Ireland had a team of four female officials on international duty, according to referee Paula Brady.

officials The all-Irish team of officials. Source: Paula Brady/Twitter.

THERE WAS A full team of Irish officials flying the flag on international duty last night as Spain won their opening Uefa Women’s Euro 2021 qualifier in front of a new attendance record for the country.

Paula Brady was on the whistle for Spain’s 4-0 win over Azerbaijan with 10,444 spectators watching on and according to the Dubliner, it was the first time that Ireland had a team of four female officials on international duty.

Joining her were assistant referees Michelle O’Neill — who was also assistant referee at this summer’s Uefa Women’s World Cup final — and Olivia Sneyd, while Orla Devaney was fourth official at the Estadio Municipal de Riazor, La Coruna.

Brady has been refereeing since 2006, after several nasty injuries including a “severed cruciate” forced her to hang up her playing boots and look elsewhere. Since then, she has taken charge of many high-profile international and Uefa Women’s Champions League fixtures, and continues to go from strength to strength. 

paula-brady Paula Brady was in the middle. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Wexford native O’Neill has had a massive few months in the middle from the World Cup in France to making history in the Uefa Super Cup meeting of Liverpool and Chelsea.

Likewise, Tolka Rovers club woman Sneyd and Kildare’s Devaney have been making waves both on home soil and on the international scene, named on several officiating teams for World Cup and European Championship qualifiers. 

For the hosts last night, Barcelona star Aitana Bonmati netted a second-half double while Patricia Guijarro and Virginia Torrecilla had established a 2-0 lead by the 26th minute against Azerbaijan in their Group D opener. They now sit second in their pool behind Czech Republic.

usa-v-netherlands-fifa-womens-world-cup-2019-final-stade-de-lyon Michelle O'Neill with her World Cup gold medal. Source: EMPICS Sport

Ireland, of course, are in Group I and face Ukraine in their second qualifier at Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday evening [KO 7.30pm]. There, recently-appointed Dutch boss Vera Pauw takes charge of her first fixture and the Girls In Green will be looking to make history in front of a record-breaking crowd.

All 8,000 tickets have seen sold or claimed for the clash, with the record attendance currently 4,047.

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Emma Duffy

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