Belfast Telegraph

Derry star Ciara McGurk's beau proposes on live TV after All-Ireland final

 

By Staff Reporter

Derry Gaelic footballer Ciara McGurk got a lot more than she bargained for during yesterday's All-Ireland ladies' finals day.

The Steelstown student was in the team facing Fermanagh in the Junior decider.

The Erne girls had already beaten the Oak Leafers four times this season by an average of 12 points.

But, against all the odds, Derry held out for a draw.

The replay will take place on October 8.

Following the Tyrone v Tipperary Intermediate final, Daithi O Se of TG4 was interviewing Ciara about the Derry v Fermanagh game and mentioned he had been talking to her boyfriend Ryan McCloskey.

The former St Cecilia's pupil replied to the question, then O Se told her to turn around.

She found Ryan down on one knee on the Croke Park sideline, where he then proposed to her.

O Se, who also hosts the Rose Of Tralee festival, was in on the secret, and a number of stewards along the pitch had Ryan hidden from view as his soon to be fiancee was delivering her post-match interview.

A snippet of the surprise proposal at the Ladies Gaelic Football Associations All Ireland Finals......She said YES! ⚽️

Posted by Ladies Gaelic Football on Sunday, September 24, 2017

The special moment sparked a flurry of excitement both in the stands and on social media, with pictures of Ciara's stunned expression being retweeted hundreds of times, as well as video clips of the happy couple sealing their joy with a kiss before Ciara jumps into her fiance's arms.

In the match itself, Derry shocked Fermanagh by galloping into an early lead. They had struggled recently against Emmett Curry's Erne ladies, but certainly reserved their finest performance of the year for the final.

At one point in the second half Derry led their Ulster rivals by nine points.

However, they were unable to hold out as the Lakeland girls, bolstered by the contribution of subs including a special point from Tempo's Blaithin Bogue, reeled in the lead.

A last minute penalty was converted expertly by Sharon Murphy to ensure the two sides must do it all again to decide the destination of the Junior title.

Witnessing the event was the largest crowd at a women's sporting event in Europe on the day.

The ladies' finals have been growing in popularity and 46,286 came through the turnstiles at Croke Park for an afternoon of high-quality football. Last year's final broke all previous attendance figures with 34,445 present, but the efforts to boost the crowds this year paid off in spectacular fashion.

Any engagement celebrations for Ciara and Ryan will have to be put on hold as Derry attempt to pull off the improbable in the Junior final replay.

It wasn't such a pleasant evening for Tyrone's ladies.

Despite being heavily fancied for the Intermediate title, they suffered a three-point defeat to Tipp.

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