This week on the show Dundalk FC Captain Chris Shields and former League of Ireland and Champions League referee Alan Kelly, now employing his match whistle stateside in the MLS, chat to co-hosts Alan Keane and Breifne Earley.
First order of business (0:09) is discussing the circumstances in which Alan was a no-show covering the Sligo Rovers game for Ocean FM in the Showgrounds on Saturday night. His emergency call out with the Sligo Fire Service took precedence over the game. It’s fine though, Joey Ndo (2:04) has firmly put his name in as a commentary option after his orgasmic WatchLOI debut at the same fixture.
Alan chats back through the results and news of the last week (3:26) with a double round of Premier Division fixtures, a full First Division slate and managerial changes and rumours in three of the clubs in the Premier Division with the return of Ruaidhri Higgins and Raff Cretaro to the league in the Derry City dugout.
Chris Shields (27:41) pops in to chat about Dundalk’s start to the season and how the mood is within the camp. He discusses the loss of Shane Keegan and Filippo Giovagnoli from the staff and how they have finally gotten their season up and running with their first win in the Louth derby against Drogheda last weekend.
Chris outlines the standard’s that have been set in Oriel Park in recent years and while the club’s league start has been sluggish by their own high standards he tells us about the plans for the campaign as their new signings become acclimatised to the surroundings in Dundalk.
When quizzed about how his Lithuanian or Korean has improved this season, he confirmed he has more trouble with the local Dundalk accent or Jim Magilton’s Belfast brogue.
All the way from Boston, former League of Ireland and UEFA referee Alan Kelly (45:07) drops in to the podcast all the way from the USA about his life, with the whistle in the MLS, over the last 8 seasons.
He discusses the differences between the two leagues, being nominated as MLS Referee of the Year on three occasions (2015, 16 & 2018) since moving stateside.
He talks about the supports for officials in the league with regular collective camps for fitness and education elements, the huge distances he was travelling each and every week to officiate once or twice a week and how he’ll never complain about driving from Cork to Derry ever again.
Alan also talks through the full set of fixtures set for this week’s Premier Division double round with games on Friday and Bank Holiday Monday and over next weekend.