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Crusaders striker Paul Heatley missed game for love match on his big day

...makes up by scoring a winner!

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 16/04/2015

Paul and Laura Heatley after their wedding at St Colmcilles
Paul and Laura Heatley after their wedding at St Colmcilles
Paul Heatley celebrates after scoring his side’s title clincher in last week’s derby

It was always going to take something special to convince Crusaders star Paul Heatley to miss a big game.

When the title-chasing winger was not available for a crunch game against Portadown last week, it was because he was taking part in a very different match.

Paul (27) was marrying his partner Laura Crawford on the same day that his team-mates suffered a narrow defeat.

But he responded just days later by scoring the goal that sent the north Belfast side towards Danske Bank Premiership glory.

Paul and Laura were married on Tuesday, April 7 at St Colmcilles in east Belfast. Paul missed the Portadown match to get hitched - but was back in action at the weekend scoring a goal that will see his side win the league. "I had to miss the Portadown match on Tuesday to get married but then returned on Saturday for Cliftonville," he said. "That was brilliant.

"I would say getting married was just as good but she might punch me!"

Paul from Glengormley and special education teacher Laura (28) from Ballyhackamore met at college and fell in love.

The couple were engaged in Co Meath on June 21, Laura's birthday, last year.

"It was on the beach in Bettystown I popped the question," Paul said.

"I was down on one knee - I had to stick to tradition."

At the ceremony last week, the newlyweds' son, Cailan, had a starring role.

"We had an amazing day," Paul said.

"The priest let us have a non-religious song coming in - Edwina Hayes, Feels Likes Home, so Laura was happy.

"Our wee man Cailan did a reading in the church. He did the Prayers of the Faithful and did brilliant."

A reception followed in the Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford.

The couple's first dance as husband and wife was to Ed Sheeran's song Thinking out Loud.

"It went fantastic," Paul added. "We had 85 guests so it was personal and quite mellowed out and most people stayed over. We had a very smooth, calm evening."

Cailan is being cared for by family while the newlyweds honeymoon in France.

"Granny and granda and his auntie and uncle are looking after him so he is being spoiled," Paul said. "Paris is absolutely gorgeous. We are treating ourselves to lovely French cuisine too."

Factfile

Paul is not the only sports star who has recently had to juggle his wedding with sporting commitments. World number three tennis player Andy Murray and Kim Sears were married in Scotland last week. They described the celebrations as "the best weekend of our lives". They tied the knot at Dunblane Cathedral in his home town. The newlyweds have decided they will delay their honeymoon until the end of the tennis season.

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