SUFFOLK official Abi Byrne said she feels ‘incredibly proud’ after her third Women’s FA Cup Final appearance in four years.
The 28-year-old was the fourth official for Sunday’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley in which Manchester City defeated Everton 3-1 after extra time.
It was also her second visit to Wembley in less than three months, after also being the fourth official for the Women’s FA Community Shield at the end of August.
Abi, who lives near Mildenhall, was chosen to referee the 2019 SSE Women’s Cup Final two years after she was an assistant referee for the showpiece occasion.
Sunday’s final, which was heldover from the end of last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, means that Abi has now filled three different roles - referee, assistant referee and fourth official - at Women’s FA Cup Finals.
She said: “To be appointed to the final three times in four years tells me The FA are happy with my performances, and to be trusted with these games makes me feel incredibly proud. I never thought I would achieve any of this when I first started.
“It was obviously completely different this time without the crowd and the atmosphere.
“All five of us had officiated at Wembley before, so this time we concentrated on doing a professional job, rather than perhaps enjoying the occasion, although any appearance at Wembley is a wonderful experience.”
The final came hot on the heels of the second of two appointments for Women's Euro Qualifying matches for Abi in the past few months.
She was referee for Faroe Islands versus Belarus on September 22nd and then fourth official for Turkey versus Kosovo on October 23rd.
Abi added: “Both very different places to visit. I've got to say I preferred the sun in Antalya, Turkey!”
With the Women’s Super League continuing during the lockdown in November, Abi is expecting to be involved in officiating more games over the coming weeks.
Abi is pictured above (second right) walking out onto the Wembley pitch ahead of Sunday's Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final.
Abi to complete a Wembley hat-trick