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  • Soccer

Taking Charge

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 11:05am
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Taking Charge

Eimer O'Brien. Photo: Odhran Ducie

Taking Charge

Eimer O'Brien. Photo: Odhran Ducie

By Thomas Conway


Next June, exactly one year after the “Greatest Show on Earth” – the FIFA World Cup – rolled into Russia, it will halt its carriages and pitch its tent once again, this time in France, for a performance that will gain far less global attention.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, set to take place in France from June 7th to July 7th, is the eighth instalment of the modern competition with 24 national teams set to converge and compete across nine French cities. All around the world, young women and girls will be watching the action, dreaming that they might someday become part of it.

For Birdhill native Eimer O’Brien, that aspiration is well within the bounds of possibility. Except if she ever does feature in a World Cup, she might be in the middle of the action but she won’t be touching the football for O’Brien is one of North Tipperary’s emerging talents in refereeing.

It seems like a peculiar route to explore for a young woman with a love for soccer but once you learn a little bit more about the profession it makes perfect sense. A longstanding involvement in the game saw her evolve from player to coach and eventually to referee. It sounds a like a natural cycle of progression but for Eimer, wearing that whistle around her neck was never really the intention.

It was actually when I started college, my manager in college asked me if I’d do the referees course, not to become a referee at all, but just to learn the laws of the game properly, for coaching and playing, to bring me on as a coach and as a player,” she revealed.


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