Monday 23 April 2018

Ireland star James McClean risks fiancee's wrath over cup final wedding

James McClean
James McClean

Claire McNeilly

James McClean is heading for big trouble again - and this time it's with his future wife.

The Derry-born football star is of course no stranger to confrontation, be it with rival fans, players or Twitter trolls.

But now he may have bitten off more than he can chew - because the 26-year-old's wedding to fiancee Erin Connor is scheduled to take place in Derry the day before the FA Cup final.

McClean's club West Brom are away to Reading in the fifth round of the competition today and, if they overcome the Championship side, the five-times winners of the trophy will stand just two more victories away from a Wembley showpiece on May 21.

"Erin is the only person close to me who doesn't want to see us reach the final," joked the Republic of Ireland international. "At this rate, we might have to get married at half-time or after the game, maybe, should we get there."

He added: "You can imagine her reaction when I told her the final was the day after our wedding date - she wasn't exactly jumping for joy, put it that way, but she understands."

McClean, who joined the Premier League outfit for £1.5m last summer, booked the big day with fellow Derry native Erin, who is in her early 20s, while he was still a Wigan player.

And, although little Wigan famously won the FA Cup by beating mighty Manchester City in the 2013 final - prior to McClean joining them - the winger must have thought his chances of Wembley glory with them or any other team were rather remote. West Brom last won the trophy 48 years ago.

McClean has been engaged to Erin, a nursing graduate, for just over three years. The Bolton-based couple, who met in a Derry nightclub six years ago, have two children, Allie Mae (2) and five-month-old James Jnr.

"We wanted the wedding to be at home so all our friends and family can go," said Erin.

The future Mrs McClean has already accepted that her dream honeymoon will have to wait, after James and his Republic of Ireland team-mates beat all the odds to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals.

Martin O'Neill's side will play Holland in a warm-up game for the tournament in Dublin just seven days after McClean's nuptials.

"I've a lot to look forward to this summer so, hopefully, it's a time I can look back on with a lot of happy memories," said McClean.

Although the hot-tempered Creggan man is often mired in controversy, he has also shown a softer side recently.

Last year he bought a specially-built £1,500 cycle for a young spina bifida sufferer in Derry after reading about her plight on Facebook. He then sponsored a new kit for his old GAA club, Sean Dolan's, which had fallen on hard times.

McClean also made generous contributions to a fund set up to aid his cancer-stricken former Derry City team-mate Mark Farren, who tragically died earlier this month after a long battle against the illness, and to Foyle Hospice.

Belfast Telegraph

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