Football

Dublin-Born Former Premier League Ref Explains How He Got To Referee Ireland Game

Dublin-Born Former Premier League Ref Explains How He Got To Referee Ireland Game

Nearly 10 years after he last refereed a Premier League game, Dermot Gallagher is still one of the best known officials of the last two decades. The 59-year-old still regularly appears as an analyst for Sky Sports.

Though he worked for the FA, Gallagher was actually born in Dublin.

In 2002, as he reached FIFA's mandatory retirement age of 45 for international referees, Gallagher got to officiate an Ireland game - a friendly against Russia at Lansdowne Road.

On Wednesday night's Off The Ball, Gallagher explained how it happened.

I was getting to the end of my FIFA career and my adopted uncle - everybody thinks he's my uncle but he's not a blood relative - Paddy Daly arranged with the FAI that they would get permission off FIFA to referee this pre-World Cup game in 2002. So in February 2002, I refereed Ireland against Russia in Landsdowne - couldn't believe it!

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Gallagher calls that game one of the greatest moments of his life.

So for the boy born 400 yards down the road [from Landsdowne Road] suddenly refereeing my national team was absolutely surreal.

It was the moment of my life. I remember when the national anthem played, I just looked up to heaven and thought about my Dad and times he'd taken my to Landsdowne Road to watch the players play when I was a young boy and there's nothing I can say to explain it. It was just absolutely surreal.

Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

PJ Browne
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