WHILE FRIDAY night's match was a significant milestone in the history of Sligo Rovers, it also marked the end of the refereeing career of Sligo's longest serving National League of Ireland referee, Paul Deering. Paul, who began refereeing in 1994, was assistant referee on the Shamrock Rovers match at the Showgrounds and retires having reached the compulsory retirement age. He was elevated to the senior panel of referees in1998 and spent fifteen seasons in the League of Ireland.
He retires with four senior medals having been Assistant Referee in the 2001 FAI Cup Final and three League Cup finals (2004 as 4th official), (2010 as 4th official) and as Assistant Referee in this season's decider between Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda United.
Paul was elevated to the FIFA international panel as Assistant Referee in 2001, the first Sligo official to ever achieve this honour. This season he was in the middle in the under 17 match between the Republic of Ireland and Azerbaijan in Castlebar. He was selected as Assistant Referee on several UEFA and FIFA matches over his career on games in Slovakia, Armenia, Israel, Malta and Iceland, the latter on a full international between the home nation and South Africa.
Paul said: "I leave refereeing with a career packed with highlights and I'd like to pay special tribute to senior referees' observer, Willie Bradley for all the support and encouragement he gave me since I took up the whistle for the first time in 1994 in the Sligo and Leitrim District Soccer League.
"I'd also like to place on record my thanks to my colleagues in the Sligo branch of the Irish Soccer Referees' Society."