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McDonough has official Wembley invation; Ref delighted to be on duty at showpiece Cup decider.

Byline: RYAN KENNEDY

TYNESIDE referee Mick McDonough will be stepping out at Wembley Stadium tomorrow afternoon after the Football League selected him as one of the officials for the Carling Cup final.

McDonough, of Denton Burn, Newcastle, will be assisting referee Mark Clattenburg alongside Simon Beck when Liverpool and Cardiff play for the trophy in the 4.00 kick-off.

He said: "It was not a shock when I found out because I knew I was in a pot of about six with a chance but luckily enough I was one of ones that got to do it.

"The two teams are immaterial to the appointment.

"It is the prestige of being considered for the game.

"You would have to say when you first start that the FA Cup and the Carling Cup are the two games that you strive for.

"Officiating in the Premiership is great, but having done that you still have goals. The only goal I have left now is the FA Cup final."

McDonough officiated in his 100th Premiership game when West Bromwich Albion beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-1 at Molineux earlier this month.

However, the 49-year-old builder's only other game in the Carling Cup this season was in Manchester United's 3-0 win over Leeds United in the third round.

However, he does have previous Wembley experience, having officiated in the 2009 play-off final between Sheffield United and Burnley.

He now believes he deserves his chance to officiate the final having been close before and will be taking his wife, mother-in-law and three sons along for support.

McDonough added: "I have done the semi-final on two other occasions.

"I feel like I have served my apprenticeship and now I have a final."

Despite been in his fifth season as part of the elite group of assistant referees in the country, McDonough still referees in the local Pin Point Junior Recruitment Football League whenever he can.

McDonough said: "I love doing it. I am just trying to give something back to something which helped me in the first place.

"I never forget the people who helped me out. Originally I was asking them if I could do games when I first started to get experience.

"That is my roots and that is how I learnt my trade.

"That is how I built up my experience and now I feel I have to give something back."

PPRJFL chairman Keith Morris said: "I am sure I speak for everyone connected to the league in offering Mick our warmest congratulations and very best wishes.

"Not just for the work Mick has done in the professional game but in grassroots football as well."

CAPTION(S):

WHISTLE HAPPY Mick McDonough will officiate at the Carling Cup final between Liverpool and Cardiff tomorrow
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 25, 2012
Words:458
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