Belfast Telegraph

Euros take second place as football star Stuart Dallas flies back home to marry the love of his life

Castle Leslie venue for big match with fiancee Juneve

By Adrian Rutherford

He's gearing up for three of the biggest games of his life, but Stuart Dallas has had to break off from Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 preparations for a very different match.

The midfielder is temporarily leaving the camp to fly back home to get hitched.

He will marry Juneve Lamont on Friday - just nine days before the team's opening game against Poland.

The venue is the plush Castle Leslie Estate in Co Monaghan - where Sir Paul McCartney married Heather Mills in 2002.

Stuart and Juneve got together when they were 16 and pupils at Cookstown High School, and have been a love match ever since. They got engaged during a romantic break in Paris in 2013.

More: Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 France Finals: Everything the Green and White Army needs to know

Ironically, Stuart will be heading back there on June 21 when Northern Ireland play Germany at the Parc des Princes in their final group game.

Before that, the pair will tie the knot this Friday, with the blessing of manager Michael O'Neill. Stuart explained that the date had been fixed for more than two years.

And O'Neill gave the go-ahead for him to pull out of the preparations to enjoy his wedding.

He flies back to Northern Ireland today and will join up with the squad after the big day.

"A couple of years ago I was in Paris and got engaged, so I have fond memories about France for sure. It was in November 2013," Dallas told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It'll be a bit different in Paris this time obviously with Northern Ireland.

"I'm sure it will be a great experience. It's something that will live with me for the rest of my life."

The honeymoon will have to wait until after the Euros, however.

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Dallas plays club football for Leeds United.

He previously played in the Irish League for Coagh United and Crusaders.

The 25-year-old made his Northern Ireland debut in a 2-0 defeat against Wales in May 2011.

He has made 13 international appearances, scoring one goal for his country.

And Dallas has said he cannot wait to marry Juneve.

The pair have been dating for eight years, and have a daughter, Pixie, who turns five in October.

The wedding comes on the eve of Northern Ireland's final warm-up game against Slovakia in Trnava on Saturday.

The team arrives in France the following day, ahead of the opening game against the Poles on June 12.

While getting hitched so close to the tournament isn't ideal, it is not unusual.

Last week, Jamie Vardy pulled out of England's friendly against Australia because he was getting married just two days beforehand.

The 29-year-old striker postponed his wedding last year and then moved it from June so he could play at Euro 2016.

England manager Roy Hodgson said that Vardy "deserved" time off to get married.

And a fortnight ago Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty married his partner, the Scottish model Vanessa Chung.

Dallas was among the squad which left Belfast for the Euros on Monday.

After playing Poland, Northern Ireland take on the Ukraine in Lyon on June 16.

They finish their group games against the Germans in Paris on June 21.

Belfast Telegraph