THOUSANDS EXPECTED AT CASEMENT PARK FOR ULSTER V DONEGAL CHARITY MATCH FOR MICHAELA MCAREAVEY

 

Charity match this evening for murdered Michaela McAreavey

ALL ROADS lead to Casement Park this evening as All Ireland champions Donegal take on an Ulster Selecet for the ‘Match for Michaela’ in memory of Michaela McAreavey.

All-Ireland winners Donegal will be fielding a strong team as they do battle againt Mickey Harte and Joe Kernan’s handpicked Ulster team.

And both sides are promising a match to remember in front an expected packed house of around 20,000 people in west Belfast under the Casement floodlights (throw-in 7.15pm).

All proceeds are going to the Michaela Foundation, a charity set up in memory of the 27-year-old, who was murdered on honeymoon in Mauritius in January 2011.

Michaela’s father Mickey and Joe Kearnan have come together to manage the Ulster side.

For Donegal, it will be their first appearance since winning the All-Ireland title at Croke Park in September and manager Jim McGuinness has named his strongest possible XV.

Club commitments and injuries mean some of his players are unavailable but the starting line-up will include nine of those who began the decider against Mayo.

Monaghan’s Darren Hughes will captain the Ulster side on a night when the result will be very much secondary to the occasion.

A full evening of entertainment is planned from 6pm ahead of the anticipated clash.

A number of well-known artists and groups will provide live music on the night including X Factor star Janet Devlin.

John and Michaela McAreavey on their wedding day

Michaela’s husband John McAreavey said that he was “really excited” about the event.

“We have a great team working behind the scenes and are confident spectators will enjoy a fantastic evening of entertainment,” said Mr McAreavey.

“As well as contributing to our growth plans for The Michaela Girls Camp into other counties, the proceeds from this major event will go directly into our fund for ‘The Michaela Centre’ which will be located in Tyrone and act as a hub for all our future activities.”

Mickey Harte expressed thanks to the Ulster Council for “affording us this opportunity to remember Michaela in such as a special way”.

“The family of the GAA have been so supportive of us all since the word of this terrible tragedy filtered through and for that we will be eternally grateful,” said the Tyrone football manager.

“As well as remembering Michaela in a unique way this is a night of celebration of the many good things of life that she loved.”

Ulster GAA president Aogan O Fearghail added that “we have all been enriched to have her part of our association”.

“This event, we hope, will remember the life, heart and soul of a beautiful young woman who lost her life too soon,” said the Ulster president.

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