Setanta Series: ‘Men in Black’

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Setanta Ireland will show a short series during the week, where they follow referees in four sports during training, officiating at games etc.

Æeterno Productions Presents Men in Black, funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound & Vision scheme & Setanta Sports Ireland. Directed by Cillian O Conchuir and produced by Shane Tobin, it follows four referees across four sport. Not only does it offer a very rare insight into the profession but with all four mic’d up, we hear the exchanges between referees and players in all four sports.
Men In Black airing dates
Tuesday 24 June 9pm: Alan Kelly(Football)
Wednesday 25 June 9pm: David Coldrick(GAA)
Thursday 26 June 9pm: Barry Kelly (Hurling)
Friday 27 June: Alain Rolland(Rugby)

Alan Kelly

In 2002, then 26, Alan Kelly was nominated and received a FIFA badge becoming the youngest referee in Europe with a badge at that time. He measured success in different ways. He became one of the best League of Ireland referees and refereed in the Champions League, taking charge of Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and before leaving Bayern Munich at the end of 2013. We see him at

“To have a successful career, it is measured against different things. I had set small targets. I made the league of Ireland panel. I had done so at a young age, so the possibilities for me were very much there. I am someone who never looks too far ahead and I don’t take anything for granted. I know it is very clichéd but you are only as good as your last game. Once I became a national league referee and a league of Ireland referee, I was able to set some further goals.

Those were refereeing an FAI Cup final, making it onto the international list of referees, and then looking further afield, to progress as much as possible through the FIFA list ultimately to referee in the Champions League and then onto a major Championships. So I’ve been very lucky to have achieved all of the goals I had set myself except for refereeing in a Major championship.”

“Its not often you get to referee in front of 50,000. The guys in England have that on a weekly basis and you get a lot of experience refereeing in front of big crowds every week,” says Alan Kelly of refereeing Celtic v Liverpool at the Aviva. He talks about his own growth in UEFA and he then talks about how it stalled on one decision as he refereed Real Madrid and Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League. But he picked himself up and at the end of the documentary we see him leaving for the United States to take up a full-time position in the MLS. “Inever really looked at refereeing as a job, it was always a passion, pass-time or hobby as it started out. But now it’s going to be my job and I’m really looking forward to it.”