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I'll marry Croker lovebirds, says Dubs legend Keaney

DUBLIN hurling superstar Conal Keaney has offered to get a special licence and marry a couple who got engaged in Croke Park during the Dublin-Tipperary All-Ireland semi-final.

Dubliner Paul Coughlan asked his Tipperary girlfriend Catherine Heffernan to marry him in front of 43,563 spectators last Sunday and the couple have now been given another reason to celebrate.

Conal Keaney works for Avon Ri, a resort overlooking the Blessington Lakes in Co Wicklow, and he persuaded his company to offer a unique wedding package to the pair.

"When we heard about Paul's proposal, we thought it would be great to match it with a special ceremony as well," Conal told the Herald.

"I hadn't seen anyone [proposing] in Croke Park before, I'd seen it in soccer games and baseball games in America but this was new to the GAA world so I'm offering to get a licence and marry them.

"We do a civil ceremony so it would be lovely with the scenery -- by the lake in Blessington.

"I've never done anything like this so it would be quite special and a lot of fun.

"We would also supply them with a car to chauffeur them from home to the church and Avon Ri and I would be driving it.

"And we would give them a deal on the wedding as well, of course," he added.

Paul and Catherine have yet to decide how they will tie the knot.

It was the first time Dublin had been in a hurling semi-final since 1948 when Paul proposed, which only added to the excitement.

Cameras were even turned to the lovebirds when he popped the question, with a bit of help from radio presenter and stadium MC Hector O hEochagain.

Everyone held their breath as big screens around the stadium showed Catherine reduced to a fit of giggles and unable to answer for a few seconds.

Thanks to Hector's coaxing, the delighted Tipperary native finally said yes and kissed her partner as the crowd cheered them on.

Unfortunately, due to an injury, Conal was not playing on the day so he was not among the players who applauded.

He had an accident while riding his bike last July and suffered a torn cruciate ligament as well as a broken ankle.

The extent of his injuries is such that the Ballyboden St Enda's star is not expected back at training for another two months at least.

"I'm slowly recovering, I'll probably be on crutches for another four or five weeks then I'll go back to the surgeon to see how everything's going," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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