Irish officials to take charge of a World Cup qualifier for first time in four years

Referee Rob Hennessy will lead the team of Irish officials for Saturday’s game between Belarus and Estonia.

Irish referee Rob Hennessy.
Irish referee Rob Hennessy.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

THIS WEEKEND’S INTERNATIONAL fixtures will see a team of four Irish officials take charge of a World Cup qualifier for the first time in four years.

Referee Rob Hennessy will lead the team of Irish officials, who will take charge of Saturday’s Group E qualifier between Belarus and Estonia in Minsk.

The Limerick native will be joined by assistant referees Allan Lynch and Emmett Dynan, along with fourth official Paul McLaughlin.

They will become the first Irishmen to officiate a World Cup qualifier since August 2017, when Neil Doyle and his team oversaw a 9-0 win for Belgium against Gibraltar.

“I’m very proud to have been selected to officiate in this game alongside Allen, Emmet and Paul,” Hennessy told the FAI website.

“We’ve worked together a lot and have a great relationship, the guys are always there for support. It’s every referee’s dream to be involved in matches at this level and we’re all looking forward to it.

“It’s a special privilege to represent our country in a World Cup qualification match.

“Appointments like these are the result of the work being done throughout the season and the high level of dedication that each of us have for refereeing.”

Hennessy, Lynch and Dynan were on League of Ireland duty last weekend as they took charge of the Premier Division meeting of Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic, which finished 1-1, while McLaughlin was in Ballybofey for Finn Harps’ 1-0 home win over Bohemians.

Hennessy has been on the SSE Airtricity League panel of referees since 2013 and was selected for the FIFA International Referees panel in 2017.

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In December 2020 he took charge of his first Europa League Group Stage fixture, when all four officials selected for this weekend’s game were appointed to the meeting of Qarabag and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Ciarán Kennedy

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