After 27 years of refereeing, Cork native Alan Kelly recently called time on his prestigious career.
Alan, son of legendary referee Pat, worked his way up from officiating in the Munster Senior League, to the League of Ireland, and then finally Major League Soccer in America where he resides today.
Kelly was first appointed to the FIFA list in 2002 and has been regarded as one of Ireland's top referees ever since.
But in a heartfelt statement that he released on Twitter, the 46-year old Corkman has decided to retire from professional refereeing.
“As a kid, all I wanted to be was a footballer,” begins Kelly.
“Once I realized that this wouldn’t happen, I decided that trying my hand at ‘the family business was the best road to go down.
“In a profession where decision-making is everything, the time has come for me to make the most difficult one of all. I have decided to retire from professional refereeing. It’s been a hell of a ride.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge some people who have contributed to my career in the most positive of ways.
“The late Eamon Farrell was a man who was ahead of his time as a referee coach and mentor and had a profound effect on my career and taught me so much.
“My Dad, Pat, such an experienced and knowledgeable referee and person and my role model as a kid.
“A man of few words but when he spoke and offered advice it was discreet but the message was hugely impactful.
“To mom, who gave it six months when I told her I was taking up refereeing, you could not have been more supportive throughout.
“Hopefully, they can get a full night’s sleep now that they do not have to watch my games on the West Coast at crazy O’Clock.
“To my wife, Laura and children, Eva, Aaron, and Quinn. I could not have asked for better support or motivation.
“To my referee colleagues back home in Ireland, here in the U.S, and those around the world who I had the privilege and pleasure to share the field with, I say; Thank you.
“To players, coaches, and fans, the lifeblood of the game, it was a pleasure to share the field and stadiums with you. Yes, we disagreed a lot but that’s the beauty of the game. But there was always respect.
“Remember, no referee, no game. Please respect the role of the match officials.
“It truly has been an amazing 27-year journey and I won’t fully appreciate it until it is over and gone.
“There is always a next chapter and I really look forward to that page-turning and for what comes next… “Time to blow Full Time. Thank You.”