Belfast Telegraph

Irish Cup Final - Glentoran v Portadown: Fra McCaffrey's big day will be a cup and wedding party

By Graham Luney

We've had Paul Heatley and Tim Mouncey - now we have Fra McCaffrey. Yet another wedding v football confrontation has sprung up ahead of the biggest fixture in the Irish League calendar.

Fra's brother Daniel gets married to Claire Brown today so what is a Glentoran midfielder to do?

Portadown ace Mouncey won't be at The Oval this afternoon as he's on his honeymoon in the Caribbean after marrying his fiancée of 10 years, Jamie Young.

Crusaders' newly crowned Ulster Footballer of the Year Heatley missed a 1-0 defeat at Portadown in the title run-in as he married Laura Crawford on the same day but he did return for the weekend fixture against Cliftonville and it was his goal that effectively clinched the title for the Crues. But the good news for Glens fans is that Daniel has given Fra his blessing to go out and help the east-Belfast side recapture the Irish Cup.

While Daniel is preparing for his big moment at St Anne's Church in Finaghy, Fra will gear up for the biggest match of his career so far.

And the 22-year-old plans to attend the evening bash at the La Mon Hotel in Castlereagh, arriving in good time for the first dance - hopefully with a spring in his step.

"It's going to be an interesting day for me, that's for sure," says Fra. "Daniel has kindly given me his blessing to miss the service but I hope to make the party afterwards in the La Mon Hotel. Ironically, I also missed the stag do which was in Portugal as it was the weekend of the semi-final.

"Hopefully I'll be in good form by the evening and it will be a double celebration!"

If Fra scores the winner against Portadown, everyone in the wedding party should be buying him a drink!

Daniel, who runs a gym called No Limits Fitness on Belfast's Glen Road, said: "Myself and Claire are happy to see Fra play for Glentoran because it lets him have his big day while we have ours. He will miss the service but all being well, depending on when the match finishes, he will meet up with us for the meal and evening do around 6pm at La Mon Hotel.

"I follow Manchester United more than the Irish League but I've taken more of an interest since Fra started playing for the Glens and hopefully we all have a great day on Saturday. If he scores the winner I just might buy him a drink!

"He also missed the stag do as well and that was probably just as well! It's a bit unusual the dates clashing like this but the family will be checking on how the Glens are doing and the game should be kicking off when we are getting our photographs taken after the service."

Fra, who scored the winner in the final game of the season against Cliftonville, is confident the Glens will be talking about the romance of the Irish Cup tonight.

"It will be my first Irish Cup final which I can be proud of as it's my first full season with the Glens," he added.

"When things settle down hopefully we can play some good football. The atmosphere should be fantastic but we should cope okay. We've never heard the end of the stories from the boys who were in the 2013 Cup winning team!

"Portadown are a very good side with plenty of quality players like Robbie Garrett, Darren Murray and Michael Gault. I could go on and we will really need to perform. But if we can play well we can beat anyone."

The match at The Oval kicks off at 2.30pm and is live on BBC2.

Belfast Telegraph


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