Everton star Seamus Coleman was joined by football pals as he wedded his childhood sweetheart Rachel Cunningham today. The 26-year-olds, who have been together for 11 years, said: ‘I do’ in front of 280 friends and family members at the St Mary the Visitation church in Killybegs, Donegal.
Everton and Ireland team-mate James McCarthy was at his side during the heartwarming ceremony as groomsman. And Ireland's Aidan McGeady, David Meyler joined James McClean and his girlfriend Erin O’Connor for the celebration.
In spite of the fact that they had faced each other on the pitch when Ireland played Scotland last weekend, Seamie’s Everton team-mate Steve Naismith and his wife Moya flew over for the big day. Dozens of well-wishers were outside the church in a soft grey drizzle which turned to mid-summer’s sunshine just as the bride arrived, only 15 minutes late.
Stephen Naismith congratulates teamate Seamie
She walked up the aisle, decked each side with lilac and white hydrangea and roses, to a stunning recital of the classical wedding favourite Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D from musicians Zara Montgomery and Farah Bogle. Rachel, who was given away by her father Pat, wore a stunning figure-hugging fishtail dress layered with lace and sparkles.
Despite the footballers' presence, it was mainly a family wedding along with the couple’s friends from their schooldays.
Seamie’s first team, St Catherine’s, Killybegs, were there as were pals he played gaelic football with at Killybegs GAA club.
As Seamie and Rachel were driven away after their 90-minujte ceremony, the footballer thanked his local fans, many of whom were children dressed in Coleman’s Everton t-shirts.
James McLean and partner Erin O'Connor
TV personality Noel Cunningham, the bride’s cousin, said: “They have been going out for years. “Rachel is a lovely girl and she was a wee dote when Seamie met her.”
While the happy couple spent the next hour on their way to their reception hotel and posing for the photographer, guests were able to break their journey in Killybegs.
There, they were treated to afternoon tea in The Bay View Hotel where Seamie’s dad Henry is manager before heading to the main wedding meal at Harvey’s Point and dancing to the Harlequin band.
The couple were keeping it in the family for the glitzy reception too as Rachel’s cousin Noel is also the hotel manager at Harvey’s Point. As well as being a guest he was in charge of arrangements for the wedding party. The lakeside setting provided a beautiful backdrop for photos at a venue which for the past two years was Ireland’s wedding hotel of the year. The celebrations are expected to continue tomorrow back in the Bay View in Killybegs.
During their honeymoon the couple will be able to forget about whispers of multi-million euro bids to attract Seamie to Manchester United or Chelsea.
He cost Everton only £60,000 when he transferred from Sligo Rovers six years ago.