Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Manchester United star Jonny Evans and his perfect match to marry in Northern Ireland

Jonny Evans and fiancée Helen enjoying a day at the races at Aintree earlier this year

Manchester United star Jonny Evans is preparing for a very special match of the day — tying the knot with his TV presenter girlfriend Helen McConnell.

And the celebrity couple will say ‘I do’ in a small church in Co Antrim next summer.

Excitement has reached fever pitch among locals and church-goers in Clough near Ballymena since news leaked that the pair plan to wed there in June or July.

The tiny village could be set for an influx of Evans’ superstar teammates including Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand.

Jonny and Helen will exchange vows at Clough Presbyterian Church, where her father Ken is the minister.

Yesterday Rev McConnell said he didn’t want to comment on the details of the wedding but confirmed they are engaged.

And the Man United-supporting clergyman said he was delighted to be welcoming Jonny into his family.

“Everything about Jonny towards us has been very respectful since he started seeing Helen.

“They are a very private couple, that’s the way they are. Jonny has a very supportive family network and he’s very close to his family.

“He’s very kind, very thoughtful, and we found that since the start. He’s an exceptionally nice lad and we’re very fond of him. You hear these things about footballers being all bling and flash with no substance, but that’s not the way he is.”

Jonny has been to the church with Helen for Sunday services several times over the past year.

The pair — both 24 — officially became an item early last year.

Jonny was smitten by the blonde presenter and model for Style Academy Belfast after she interviewed him for United’s TV station MUTV.

Helen, like Jonny a lifelong United fan, landed the job as a host on the station after a stint freelance reporting on Irish League games and other sports.

Her brother Nathan is a former Cliftonville and Ballymena United player.

Jonny splashed out on a £2.2m mansion in Manchester when he became a mainstay in the squad.

But the young couple agreed not to live together until after they are married due to her strong religious beliefs.

Whispers were circulating in sporting circles of the blossoming romance months before Jonny and Helen officially announced they were dating.

After a heavy defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester City last season one columnist noted that Evans “managed to escape criticism on MUTV after his red card” which played a crucial part in United getting beaten 6-1.

The columnist joked: “In the post-match analysis, fans were left wondering why such little time was spent discussing the game's turning point.

“I think we now know... it seems pretty presenter Helen McConnell has a bit of a soft spot for the Northern Irishman, and my Old Trafford moles reckon the pair have been getting very cosy.”

His boss Sir Alex Ferguson is sure to be delighted. He previously said: “Marriage helps footballers, I've always thought that. I'm an advocate of that.”

Background

Jonny Evans and Helen McConnell are to marry in Co Antrim next summer. Jonny has played more than 140 games for Manchester United and 32 for Northern Ireland. Helen is a host on MUTV. It was through her work with the station the former University of Ulster student first met the star.

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