Pictured: Ulster Rugby legend Stephen Ferris marries love match Laura
Rugby legend Stephen Ferris and his beautiful bride Laura McNally tied the knot yesterday on the 18th anniversary of the Ulster Grand Prix race which claimed her beloved dad’s life.
Laura’s brother Gary walked her down the aisle at the stunning ceremony in Virginia Park Lodge’s Lavender Gardens in Co Cavan.
In August 1999, rising road racing star Owen McNally died six days after a horror smash at the local event. Stephen was at the race with a friend, but had left before the crash. Laura’s mother had a bad feeling about the race, and wouldn’t let her go. Last Thursday, English rider Jamie Hodson died on the same circuit.
A close pal of world champion Joey Dunlop, the father-of-two was tipped for global success. Last year he was inducted into the RPS Hall of Fame.
In his autobiography Man and Ball, Stephen (31) described Laura as “very much a daddy’s girl” and said he would have loved to have met Owen, a man who “liked a drink, the craic and was a bit of an eejit, just like Laura”.
He added: “There is not a day that goes by when she does not think of her father.”
Yesterday friends and family of Laura, from Portrush, and Lisburn sportsman Stephen joined together for the lavish bash. His rugby pals Chris Henry and Rory Best were also in attendance with their wives.
The loved-up pair met each other five years ago in Kelly’s nightclub in Portrush through Laura’s bridesmaid and “best friend from the Port” Zoe Sterrett, who is the girlfriend of Stephen’s former Ulster team-mate Chris Cochrane.
The newlyweds’ ceremony took place at 2pm followed by a drinks reception and music from Ricky Lorimer, a singer at Portrush’s Harbour Bar. Resident DJ at The Anchor Bar Complex in Portstewart, Alan Logan, entertained guests later on at the evening reception.
Top chef Richard Corrigan ensured guests were well fed with a five course meal in the hotel’s Pavillion. The threetime Great British Menu winner works in some of the UK and Ireland’s best restaurants, including Corrigan’s in Mayfair.
There was then live music from the Bentley Boys.
While 28-year-old Laura had Zoe and her other bridesmaid Robyn Collery on-hand for her big day, Stephen’s older brother David was his best man.
According to the couple’s wedding website, David cracked “some very PC jokes during his speech” which was “fuelled with Bourbon”. His groomsmen were Stephen ‘Willy’ Williamson, one of his oldest pals, and Laura’s younger brother Gary.
The wedding came almost two years after the Lions flanker popped the question on a romantic trip to Barcelona with a custom-made ring.
The pair had just returned from travelling around the world for three months, following Stephen’s retirement.
Belfast Telegraph Digital