Happy the bride the sun shines on, an old saying goes, and so it was yesterday for a radiant Hilary Stephenson who married Kerry footballer Kieran ‘Star’ Donaghy between the wintry showers in Waterville.
A host of Gaelic footballers, past and present, were among the 300 guests who packed into St Finian’s Church and celebrated afterwards with the glamorous couple at a reception that continued into the early hours in the Sneem Hotel.
Both from Tralee, Kieran is an Ulster Bank official, while Hilary works in a Tralee auctioneering firm. They have known each other since their late teens.
The bride arrived a half-hour late in a black, 1948 Austin 16, festooned in white ribbons, and wore a tight-fitting, ivory dress, with a diamante attached.
Flashing his trademark smile, the strapping 29-year-old groom, all 6ft 5in of him, looked fit enough to race onto Croke Park and cut a dash in elegant tails.
Some onlookers tried to count the total number of All-Ireland medal won by the attendance, with estimates putting the figure at 100, at least.
Several members of the Kerry team were led by their manager, Eamon Fitzmaurice, accompanied by his wife, Tina. There, too, were the ubiquitous broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh; the ageless football maestro Mick O’Dwyer, currently managing Clare; and former Meath manager Sean Boylan.
The nuptials were performed by Manchester-based Fr John Ahern, a keen Kerry football supporter, assisted by Waterville parish priest Fr John Kerin, while music and singing was by soprano-harpist Marina Cassidy.
Best man was Conor Donaghy and groomsmen were Micheal Quirke and Daniel Bohane, also Kerry footballers, and Tralee basketball player Vinnie Murphy.
The bridesmaids, all in black and carrying cerise roses, were Sarah Donaghy, the groom’s sister, Jane Kerrisk and Elaine Curran.
Kieran is the son of Deirdre and the late Oliver Donaghy, who died last March, while Hilary is the daughter of Tralee accountant Frank and Angela Stephenson. The Stephensons have a holiday home close to Waterville golf links and Hilary has regularly visited the area since childhood.
Kerry 2013 captain Eoin Brosnan and his wife, Mary, were among several footballers to toast the popular “Star” and his lovely bride, including Declan O’Sullivan, Darran O’Sullivan, Killian Young and Marc Ó Sé. Paul Galvin and his girlfriend, Today FM presenter Louise Duffy, also attended.
Past footballers included Eoin Liston, Mikey Sheehy, Ger O’Keeffe, William Kirby, Ogie Moran, Sean Walsh and John O’Dwyer, along with Munster GAA Council chairman Sean Walsh, as well as US-born basketball player, Ricardo Leonard.
Former Kerry football manager Jack O’Connor, a teacher in Coláiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen, was work-tied but was due to join the celebrations at the hotel later.
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