Daly gets UEFA European Women's Championship Finals appointment
FAI Elite Referee Rhona Daly has been appointed by UEFA as a Fourth Official for the 2013 European Women's Championship Final tournament in Sweden from July 10 t0 28.
Daly is one of three Fourth Officials appointed and is part of a 25 strong refereeing team that also includes nine referees and 12 assistant referees.
It is the latest high profile appointment for Daly who has been an international referee since 2007 having previously been an international assistant referee since 2004. In the past has officiated at the 2008 European Women's U17 Championship Finals and both 2004 and 2010 European Women's U19 Championship Finals. She took charge of the 2010 final between France and Enlgnad. In addition she has also refereed senior international and Women's Champions League games. Daly also officiates regularly in the Airtricity League and the Bus Éireann Women's National League.
John Ward, Head of the FAI's Elite Referees Committee, said Daly's appointment was well deserved: "This appointment is a well deserved honour for Rhona who has worked hard over the last number of years and is an indication of the progress she has made as an Elite Referee."
It's the fifth time in the past two years that a member of the FAI Elite Referee panel has been appointed to a UEFA finals tournament. Damien McGraith was part of the refereeing team at the European U21 Championships in 2011 and was an assistant referee for the final. He was also a reserve assistant at Euro 2012 last summer. Mark Gavin was an assistant at the European U17 Championships last year and Michelle O'Neill was an assistant at the European Women's U19 Championship Finals and was involved in the final.
For Daly, the news of the appointment was the perfect birthday present as she celebrated her 32nd birthday last Tuesday.
"I actually found out about the appointment on the day of my birthday so it was a great present as I wasn't expecting it because the names of the referees for the finals had been released been Christmas. I refereed a senior international last year between Sweden and Holland in one of the stadiums which will be used for the finals so I know it's going to be a great tournament and I am looking forward to being part of it."
As Ireland's top woman referee, Daly hopes that her appointment, coupled with the achievements of fellow referees Michelle O'Neill and Paula Brady, will persuade other women to take up refereeing.
"I don't think I would have achieved what I have if I had stayed playing. It probably helped that my dad, Frank, was a referee but there are great opportunities for women referees now and the introduction of the Bus Éireann Women's National League has been a great step forward. It's the top division of women's football and the clubs, players and referees have all bought into it so it gives women taking up refereeing something to aim for, " said Daly who hails from Kiltoom, Co Roscommon.