Tuesday 19 November 2019

'Super' night for Michelle as she makes history

Assistant referee Michelle O'Neill during the UEFA Super Cup final in Istanbul
Assistant referee Michelle O'Neill during the UEFA Super Cup final in Istanbul

Wexford's Michelle O'Neill took her place in history on Wednesday evening as she was part of an all-female officiating team for the UEFA Super Cup final in Besiktas Park in Istanbul.

O'Neill and Manuela Nicolosi from Italy were the assistants for the showdown between Liverpool and Chelsea, with France's Stephanie Frappart becoming the first female referee to take charge of a major European men's game.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for the officials after his sides 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory - following a 2-2 draw.

'I told the ref team after the game that if we would have played like they whistled, we would have won 6-0. That was my absolute opinion. They played a brilliant game. I told (Frappart) as well that I am not happy with the penalty decision because I'm still not sure that it was a penalty, but it's not important anymore.

'They were really good. Whatever you could have thought before the game, there was pressure on them like hell with an historic moment. Staying by yourself, staying calm and do what you have to do, decide very important things in a very difficult and intense game, I couldn't have more respect, to be honest. It was really a brilliant performance,' said Klopp.

O'Neill didn't put a foot wrong during the final, with Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount correctly having goals disallowed for being marginally offside.

It was another feather in the cap of the Enniscorthy native, who is well known in League of Ireland and Women's National League circles, after running the line in the Women's World Cup final in July.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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