COLLEGE sweethearts who shared a passion for Irish and the GAA, the pairing of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey was truly a match made in heaven.
Michaela was known for her intense passion for football and never missed a game. John, from Co Down, was equally steeped in Gaelic games and is a lifelong member of local club Tullylish.
In 2005, when both were students in Belfast, the pair first met and love soon blossomed.
John, who had earlier attended St Colman's College in Newry, was studying Business in Queens University. Michaela, following in her father's footsteps, was studying to be a teacher at St Mary's College.
John, who shares a name with his well-known uncle Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, was nicknamed "the bishop" in college.
John is the captain of Tullylish's senior football team, and is also a member of the Down Senior inter-county panel, having made his debut in 2008.
Tullylish's club chairman John McDermott today described Michaela as "an active supporter of Tullylish senior team" and said she will be "greatly missed by everyone at the club".
In a measure of his devotion to the club, John also serves as the assistant treasurer.
In December 2008, after they had been dating for three years, Michaela was surprised by a romantic gesture from John when he whisked her away to Paris, and he proposed to her.
By then, the happy couple had already advanced well in their chosen careers. Michaela was employed at St Patrick's Girls Academy in Dungannon, while John, a qualified accountant, worked in Lurgan firm Henry Murray Accountants.
In preparation for married life, the pair recently bought their first home, in the development of Roeshill in Lawrencetown, just a few miles from Banbridge. They hadn't yet moved in, but had spent the past few months buying furniture and fittings.
Following the couple's marriage on December 30, John's parents headed to Thailand for a holiday to celebrate John's mother's 60th birthday. Poignantly, that trip will now be cut short and it is believed the couple are trying to get to Mauritius to be with their devastated son.
John's brother Brian was due to arrive at the island today, accompanied by Michaela's brother Mark.