Men in Black

Red was the colour of the day in last Sunday’s FAI Cup semi-finals as Conor McCormack was sent off for Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds while Dundalk duo Darren Meenan and Chris Shields were dismissed in the space of five minutes in the Louth derby.

MLS-bound Alan Kelly made the right call to award Sligo Rovers the penalty and give McCormack his marching orders but the same can’t be said of Shields’ challenge on Declan O’Brien at Hunky Dorys Park, a decision so poor that Stephen Kenny threatened to take his side home when interviewed by RTE during the first half.

‘Football League and Premiership Referees 1988 to 2013: A Reference Resource’ by Gilbert Upton is one of my favourite statistical books. I haven’t needed it for any reason so far and maybe I never will but I just love the fact that it exists.

A Tranmere fan discovered there was no publication which brought together a comprehensive list of referees in the English game, and, as neither the Football Association nor the Referee’s Assocation kept such an archive, he had to do it from scratch.

The book has documented all 1,594 referees up to 2012, their location and the seasons they operated. There are also details of the various cup finals and who refereed them including the 1970/71 and 1971/72 Texaco Cup where Irish clubs competed together with English and Scottish clubs.

It would take nothing short of a miracle to find all that information in League of Ireland football but what you see below is the first small step of the full name and county of each cup final referee in the past ten years.

Only Alan Kelly, Ian Stokes and Dave McKeon have taken charge of a FAI Cup, League Cup and Setanta Sports Cup final. A Northern Ireland official has overseen half of the eight Setanta Cup finals to date including the only victories for Irish League sides in 2005 and 2012.

In 2003, Alan Kelly followed in his father’s footsteps and became the youngest referee of a FAI Cup Final. The Cork whistler was twenty-eight when he took charge of the Longford Town-St. Patrick’s Athletic game and he was appointed for a second time in 2009.

Sammy Spillane (Cork) and John Carpenter (Dublin) jointly hold the record for refereeing the most FAI Cup finals. They were in charge for three finals, but Carpenter’s three involved two replays, while Spillane’s involved one.

Carpenter has also refereed the most League Cup finals along with Paddy Daly (Dublin). They both took charge of four different finals with Daly involved in two successive seasons in 1978/79 and 1979/80. He awarded Athlone Town two penalties in the latter which Pat Whelan converted as part of his hat-trick.

FAI Cup
2003 – Longford 2-0 St. Pat’s – Alan Kelly (Cork)
2004 – Longford 2-1 Waterford – John Feighery (Dublin)
2005 – Drogheda 2-0 Cork – Ian Stokes (Dublin)
2006 – Derry 4-3 St. Pat’s – Damien Hancock (Dublin)
2007 – Cork 1-0 Longford – Dave McKeon (Dublin)
2008 – Bohemians 2-2 Derry – Anthony Buttimer (Cork)
2009 – Sporting Final 2-1 Sligo – Alan Kelly (Cork)
2010 – Sligo 0-0 Shamrock Rovers – Tom Connolly (Dublin)
2011 – Sligo 1-1 Shelbourne – Richie Winter (Wicklow)
2012 – Derry 3-2 St. Pat’s – Neil Doyle (Dublin)

League Cup
2003 – St. Pat’s 1-0 Longford – Eddie Barr (Dublin)
2004 – Longford 2-1 Bohemians – Pat Whelan (Dublin)
2005 – Derry 2-1 UCD – Damien Hancock (Dublin)
2006 – Derry 0-0 Shelbourne – Ian Stokes (Dublin)
2007 – Derry 1-0 Bohemians – Declan Hanney (Dublin)
2008 – Derry 6-1 Wexford – Richie Winter (Wicklow)
2009 – Bohemians 3-1 Waterford – Derek Tomney (Dublin)
2010 – Sligo 1-0 Monaghan – Declan Hanney (Dublin)
2011 – Derry 1-0 Cork – Paul Tuite (Dublin)
2012 – Drogheda 3-1 Shamrock Rovers – Tom Connolly (Dublin)
2013 – Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Drogheda – Padraig Sutton (Clare)

Setanta Cup
2005 – Linfield 2-0 Shelbourne – Mark Courtney (Dungannon)
2006 – Drogheda 1-0 Cork – Dave McKeon (Dublin)
2007 – Drogheda 1-1 Linfield – Adrian McCourt (Bangor)
2008 – Cork 2-1 Glentoran – Ian Stokes (Dublin)
2010 – Bohemians 1-0 St. Pat’s – Alan Black (Antrim)
2011 – Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Dundalk – Alan Kelly (Cork)
2012 – Crusaders 2-2 Derry – Raymond Crangle (Belfast)
2013 – Shamrock Rovers 7-1 Drogheda – Rob Rogers (Dublin)

Leinster Senior Cup
2010 – Shelbourne 4-0 Bray – Declan Hanney (Dublin)
2011 – St. Pat’s 2-0 Bohemians – Phil Caschera (Dublin)
2012 – Shamrock Rovers 1-0 St. Pat’s CY – Robert Harvey (Dublin)

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