In the United States of America is keen to impress

It is also one of the major factors behind the decision to uproot his young family and move to the US.

Growing up in Cork, his boyhood dream was similar to so many others in that he fancied a career in professional football. At schoolboy level Avondale were his team before going on to feature in Munster Senior League and with Cork City’s reserves.

At 18, however, the defender picked up an injury that would see him sidelined for a couple of months. He may not have known it at the time, but the decision to sit a referee beginners course would eventually result in him realising his ambition — albeit as a ‘man in black’.

Given his family background, a career officiating the game rather than playing in it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Grandfather Tim was a League of Ireland referee as was his father Pat, who took charge of two FAI Cup finals — an achievement his son would go on to emulate.

That said, Kelly says he was never pushed into following in their footsteps.

“Playing was always what I wanted to do,” Kelly told The Score this week. “I was playing a semi-decent level at youth level. While I got injured, I was out for a couple of months and signed up for the course just to do it otterbox iPhone 5/5S case.

“That was it. I went back and played for a little bit but I had been bitten by the bug. There was no pressure from my dad or that but it was in my head and when I returned to playing I wasn’t able to kick and chase as much. Not that I stopped enjoying playing but I just didn’t have the same buzz as I did before the injury.”

Beginning in Cork’s schoolboy leagues, Kelly swiftly worked his way up the ladder and joined the newly-formed FAI School of Excellence. He recalls getting a late call-up to make his League of Ireland bow in 1999.

“I wasn’t even on the League of Ireland panel at that time but was launched in as an assistant referee or a linesman as we were called then. We were down in Buckley Park in Kilkenny and there was a chap, I think his name was Paul Mooney, who got injured the night before a Premier Division game between Kilkenny City and St Pat’s.

Now 38, Kelly is widely-regarded as the country’s top referee. As well as featuring in several high profile internationals, he was also officiated in European competitions including the coveted Champions League.

When the current domestic season draws to a close in two weeks, however, Kelly will wave goodbye ahead of a switch Stateside. With a wife who has her own career in Ireland and two young kids, the decision was not taken lightly but his thirst for a new challenge proved too great Casing Otterbox Commuter.

Once myself and my wife had discussed all the pros and cons, we believed that it was the right decision,” he explains. ”It’s a brave one but we’re confident that it’s the right one from a professional and personal point of view.

“I’ve grown up with LOI football in my blood. There’s a well-documented family history there. But the more my career took off, I looked at the possibility of going to the UK.

“That was never really a runner because there was too much red tape involved OtterBox Defender Series. I didn’t think the opportunity to work in a full-time refereeing environment would present itself.

“I was very happy to operate from an international point of view within UEFA. I generally thought that was the way it would go until I asked that question myself last year.”

Gay rights bill

The vote reflected the nation's rapidly evolving attitude toward gay rights nearly two decades after Congress rejected same-sex marriage. The final tally was 64-32.

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved legislation outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, g-suite cardinal manchester demonstrating the nation's quickly evolving attitude toward gay rights nearly two decades after Congress rejected same-sex marriage.

Fifty-four members of the Democratic majority and 10 Republicans voted Thursday for the first major gay rights bill since Congress repealed the ban on gays in the military three years ago. The vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was 64-32.

Two opponents of a similar measure 17 years ago, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the presidential nominee in 2008, and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, backed the measure this time.

"We are about to make history in this chamber," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and a chief sponsor of the bill, said shortly before the vote.

The enthusiasm of the bill's supporters was tempered by the reality that the Republican-led House, where conservatives have a firm grip on the agenda, is unlikely to even vote on the legislation. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, maintains his longstanding opposition to the measure, arguing that it is unnecessary and certain to create costly, frivolous lawsuits for businesses.

Outside conservative groups have cast the bill as anti-family.

Senate nears historic vote on gay rights bill: Map of states and D.C. and their position on workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.MCT: Judy Treible
President Barack Obama welcomed the vote and urged the House to act.

"One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do," Obama said in a statement. "Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it."

Gay rights advocates hailed Senate passage as a major victory in a momentous year for the issue. The Supreme Court in June granted federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, though it avoided a sweeping ruling that would have paved the way for same-sex unions nationwide. Illinois is on the verge of becoming the 15th state to legalize gay marriage along with the District of Columbia.

Supporters called the bill the final step in a long congressional tradition of trying to stop discrimination, coming nearly 50 years after enactment of the Civil Rights Act and 23 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Now we've finished the trilogy," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a chief sponsor of the disabilities law, said at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The first openly gay senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, called the vote a "tremendous milestone" that she will always remember throughout her time in the Senate.

Democrats echoed Obama in pushing for the House to act, with Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois reminding the GOP leader of the history of his party.

"The Republican Party in the United States of America came into being in the 1980s over the issue of slavery, and the man who embodied the ideals of that Republican Party was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who gave his life for his country to end discrimination," Durbin said. "Keep that proud Republican tradition alive."

Esteban Roncancio and other protesters make their views known as they stand outside a President Barack Obama fundraiser in Miami, 2012.Getty Images: Joe Raedle
Esteban Roncancio and other protesters make their views known as they stand outside a President Barack Obama fundraiser in Miami, 2012.
In the Senate, opponents of the legislation remained mute through three days of debate, with no lawmaker speaking out g-suite in oldham. That changed on Thursday, as Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana said the legislation would force employers to violate their religious beliefs, a direct counter to rights embodied in the Constitution.

"There's two types of discrimination here we're dealing with, and one of those goes to the very fundamental right granted to every American through our Constitution, a cherished value of freedom of expression and religion," Coats said.

The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would have expanded the number of groups that are covered under the religious exemption. Opponents argued that it would undermine the core bill.

If the House fails to act on the bill, gay rights advocates are likely to press Obama to act unilaterally and issue an executive order barring anti-gay workplace discrimination by federal contractors.

Backers of the bill repeatedly described it as an issue of fairness.

"It is well past time that we, as elected representatives, ensure that our laws protect against discrimination in the workplace for all individuals, that we ensure ... some protections for those within the LGBT community," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who described the diversity in her state.

Murkowski's support underscored the generational shift. Seventeen years ago, when a bill dealing with discrimination based on sexual orientation failed by one vote in the Senate, the senator's father, Frank, voted against it. That was the same year that Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.

Current federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The bill would bar employers with 15 or more workers from using a person's sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for making employment decisions, including hiring, firing, compensation or promotion. It would exempt religious institutions and the military.

Related: 2013 'gayest year in gay history ' rights advocates say

By voice vote Wednesday, the Senate approved an amendment from Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire that would prevent federal, g-suite cardinal state and local governments from retaliating against religious groups that are exempt from the law.

Likely Senate approval of the overall bill reflects the nation's growing tolerance of gays and the GOP's political calculation as it looks for support beyond its core base of older voters. A Pew Research survey in June found that more Americans said homosexuality should be accepted rather than discouraged by society by a margin of 60 percent to 31 percent. Opinions were more evenly divided 10 years ago.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved laws banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 17 of those also prohibit employers from discriminating based on gender identity.

About 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 57 percent of those companies include gender identity.