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Humanist wedding case footballer O'Kane in road crash drama

By Damian Spellman

A Republic of Ireland footballer due to wed a Belfast beauty queen next month has been involved in a car crash.

Eunan O'Kane (26) from Co Londonderry - who is to wed Northern Ireland model Laura Lacole (27) on June 22 - and Shane Duffy escaped injury in a road collision on their way to meet the international squad.

Mr O'Kane and Ms Lacole are currently involved in a high-profile court case seeking legal recognition of their looming humanist wedding.

Leeds midfielder O'Kane and Brighton defender Duffy and were en route to the team hotel yesterday when their vehicle was involved in a collision.

A Football Association of Ireland statement called the car crash "minor". It added: "The two players have now reported safely to the team hotel in Dublin."

The pair are due to fly out to the United States with the rest of the squad today ahead of Ireland's friendly against Mexico in New Jersey.

Under current law in Northern Ireland, Ms Lacole and Mr O'Kane's planned humanist wedding in Ballymena's luxury Galgorm Resort will not be recognised in law. For such recognition they would need to have a separate civil ceremony.

A lawyer for the couple told the court they were being denied the same rights afforded to religious people.

On Friday, Mr Justice Colton reserved judgment at the end of a hearing at the High Court in Belfast.

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