Michelle O’Neill was 'born ready' for World Cup final

Irish assistant referee ran the line during USA’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Lyon

 Michelle O’Neill (right) warms up with match referee Stephanie Frappart (centre) and Manuela Nicolosi (left) prior to the Women’s World Cup football final between the USA and the Netherlands. Photograph: Getty Images

Michelle O’Neill (right) warms up with match referee Stephanie Frappart (centre) and Manuela Nicolosi (left) prior to the Women’s World Cup football final between the USA and the Netherlands. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish referee Michelle O’Neill, who lined out as an assistant referee in the Women’s World Cup final in Lyon on Sunday, has told of how she closed all her social media accounts in the run up to the final.

“I knew they would probably blow up,” she told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland after officiating during the USA’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands. “I didn’t want to be distracted. I knew it was kind of a thing and a little big at home.”

She said that while the teams were lining out and as the national anthems were played she found the seats where her family was sitting and focused on them.

O’Neill also said that prior to the game when she shook the hands of both team captains, US captain Megan Rapinoe asked her if she was ready. “I told her I was born ready.”

The US won a record-extending fourth title as second-half goals from Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle confirmed their status as the leading power in the women’s game.

The defending champions struggled to gain dominance for an hour before a Rapinoe penalty, her sixth goal of the tournament, broke the deadlock and a fine individual effort from Lavelle in the 69th minute put the outcome beyond doubt.

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