League of Ireland referee elevated onto international FIFA panel

Rob Hennessy is just 26 and has been officiating in the LOI for three seasons

Rob Hennessy, referee,

Referee Robert Hennessy is escorted from the pitch at the end of a game between Bray Wanderers and Bohemians in September 2016 ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

League of Ireland referee Rob Hennessy has been added to the FIFA International Referees Panel.

The Limerick native is just 26 years old but has been officiating in the League of Ireland for three seasons.

His elevation onto the referees' panel of football's world governing body means he will be able eligible to officiate in international matches.

Hennessy will now travel to the Spanish city of Malaga where he will attend a FIFA Referees seminar. 

"This year I’ve been selected for the FIFA Panel of Referees from Ireland. Each country is given a specific number of referees on the panel and I’ve been chosen to be one of those representatives this year," said Hennessy.

"The first step is that you have to go to an introductory course run by UEFA and I’ll be heading to Malaga this weekend for my introductory course. We’ll go through fitness tests, Laws of the Game, different modules from UEFA and FIFA instructors so I’m really looking forward to that."

Hennessy also set out his path on the international ladder after his elevation.

"In your first year as an international referee you generally get an underage tournament, whether that’s U17s or U19s, and then after that it’s how your progress goes. I’m lucky to have been given an opportunity to go to Malaga for a week with the Ireland U19s next month for a tournament which will be another good introduction to what life is like in those tournaments," he said.

Hennessy will now join Neil Doyle, Paul McLaughlin, Paula Brady and Robert Harvey as the Irish referees on the FIFA International Panel.

The panel also includes Irish assistant referees and futsal match officials.