Monday 19 March 2018

In the hills of Donegal, rugby great Victor Costello weds beloved Yvonne

RUGBY ROYALTY: Former Ireland international Victor Costello wed girlfriend Yvonne Keyes yesterday. SPORTSFILE
RUGBY ROYALTY: Former Ireland international Victor Costello wed girlfriend Yvonne Keyes yesterday. SPORTSFILE

Gregory Harkin

Rugby royalty rubbed shoulders with friends and family as former Ireland player Victor Costello wed girlfriend Yvonne Keyes at a five-star luxury castle hotel yesterday.

Former international colleagues Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan and Paul O'Connell joined 170 guests at the lavish civil ceremony and meal at the Solis Lough Eske Hotel in Co Donegal.

The couple opted for a discreet celebration and no photographs were released to the media.

Yvonne was accompanied to the special wedding venue inside the hotel by her father.

"Yvonne looked absolutely beautiful and there was a brilliant atmosphere," said one guest.

Many of the guests arrived on Friday night ahead of the celebrations, with O'Connell joining guests for a pint in the hotel bar before the 2pm ceremony. The five-star hotel, set in the foothills of the Bluestack Mountains 6km from Donegal Town, is a licensed wedding venue.

It has been voted Ireland's Wedding Venue of the Year twice in recent years and voted the World's Best Luxury Hotel in 2009.

It's also a favourite hang-out for celebrity couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker when visiting the county.

Costello, (45), won 39 caps for Ireland between 1996 and 2004. He also made 126 appearances in the Leinster shirt.

He was also a five-times Irish shot-putt champion, representing his country at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The couple met in London, where they are both based.

"They wanted a real get-away-from-it-all wedding," said one friend.

"This remote part of Donegal was a chance for them to enjoy their big day together away from the hustle and bustle of their normal lives.

"It was a really relaxed and fun weekend with loads of friends and family."

Costello retired from competitive rugby back in 2007 at the age of 34 after nearly 20 years of sport at the highest level. Then Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "Victor Costello has enjoyed an incredible sporting career, of which rugby has played a huge part. He was one of the most talented athletes in world rugby and played a big part in the success of the national team."

Since then he has become a respected pundit on both field athletics and rugby.

And his career has really taken off since his retirement from top-level sport, having qualified as an airline pilot with Ryanair.

Sunday Independent

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