World Cup Final Assistant Referee Mike Mullarkey arrived at CTCRM Lympstone on Monday 9th September, and was met by referees co-ordinator CPO Jacky McNamara, just in time for the last game of the day between Scottish rivals 43 Cdo FPGRM from Faslane vs. 45 Cdo RM from Arbroath.
An absolute classic 4-4 draw was served up, including a red card, some world class saves and a Karl Lockhart 2nd half hatrick. Commenting on the displaying, Mike said he was amazed at the quality of play and the tenacity of both teams, combined with their discipline at being able to brush of poor challenges with a wry smile and wise crack.
After the game Mike met up with the Royal Navy FA Basic referees course students who had just completed their first days training with course instructors CPO Ian Harley and Barney Barnett.
Mike then delivered an fantastic presentation in the WO's & Sgts Mess, which focussed on his progression from a footballer of limited ability to one of the top assistant referees in the world. We were treated to an amazing insight into the world of football at the highest level, with stories of the elation at his selection for Euro 2008, only to be dampened by a missed of offside in the Austria vs. Poland which led to the English refereeing team being sent home after the group stage. Who would have thought that only two years later he would be the assistant referee in the biggest game of all.
After taking some questions and a photo call with some of the mementoes he had brought with him, Mike stayed on with the troops in the Moody Brook bar treating us to some tales until late in the evening.
The RNFA referees committee and the Royal Marines FA would like to personally thank Mike Mullarkey for taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit the USMC Tunney Cup.