It’s not every day you play in an All-Ireland gaelic football final. And it’s not every day you get engaged.
On Sunday, Derry ladies footballer Ciara McGurk rolled the two into one.
Despite her team grasping a draw from the jaws of victory against Fermanagh in Dublin, there was still a moment of glory after the final whistle.
During a post-match interview with the Irish broadcaster TG4, her boyfriend got down behind her on one knee and popped the question.
Ryan McCloskey, a goalkeeper for Westbank United, had carefully orchestrated the magic moment.
“I was chatting to the presenter and he mentioned Ryan’s name, it didn’t click at all,” Miss McGurk told the BBC.
“And then he says: ‘Turn around, he’s standing behind you.’
“And there he was, he was down on one knee!
“I just panicked and screamed.”
Only a short time before, Miss McGurk had been celebrating on the pitch after scoring a first-half goal.
“It was a major shock because it’s been a dream for me to play in Croke Park and to get a goal and for him to propose to me – it was just amazing,” she said.
“Unbelievable feeling. I was just over the moon.”
Little did Miss McGurk know, but some of her family were in on the act.
“My dad knew as he asked him for permission, and my mum found out the night before as my dog ate the ring box,” she said.
Despite all the personal drama, Miss McGurk is already getting her mind focused on Derry’s All-Ireland final replay.
“In two weeks time I’ve another All Ireland final to go to again so I’m all over the place, I’m a whirlwind of emotions.
“Fermanagh beat us four times this year so there’s no reason why we can’t beat them next time.
“Whoever thinks somebody is going to get proposed to at Croke park, it’s not every day that happens.
“This morning me and a few of the girls are watching the game back, so right now we’re forgetting about the proposal and wondering how we didn’t win.”
The day also saw some records smashed.
Supporters for the junior, intermediate and senior clashes all added up to make it the highest-attended major women’s sporting event in Europe this year.
It Surpasses the 35,271 who travelled to Wembley for the Women’s FA Cup final in May.
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