She had waited 22 years for her partner to tackle the issue, so last night Dublin woman Martina Connolly used the Ireland and Czech Republic encounter — and the day that was in it — to win a very special and long overdue match.
When the players left the pitch at half time at the Aviva, Martina went in the other direction determined to pursue her goal.
Her boyfriend of 22 years and father of her two children, Ryan, 11, and Kelly, 20, thought he was at the game courtesy of tickets for pitchside seats secured by Martina’s brother from Dublin radio station 98FM.
However, Derek McGill knew something was up when the station’s presenter, Aidan Power, approached to inform him he was there for a very special reason. He was whisked pitchside where Martina was waiting nervously.
With tens of thousands of eyes fixed on her, she took the opportunity offered by the date — Feb 29 — to pop the question.
A taken-aback Derek immediately said yes, before the couple embraced.
Minutes later, after being led down the tunnel, she said Derek still looked shocked but that she was delighted she had given him the kick he needed.
Derek was not the only man who found himself on the end of a proposal thanks to the leap year.
In Co Louth, sales rep Philip Woods, 31, had no idea it was Feb 29 until his girlfriend asked him to marry her at 8.30am yesterday.
“I told him we had to bring the dog for a quick walk,” said Maeve Jordan, 26, who added: “I’m sick of waiting for him to ask me.”
Maeve, a teacher at Ardaghy national school in Omeath, Co Louth proposed on the shores of Carlingford Lough, a short walk from where the couple live.
She brought him for a short stroll to the “proposal stones” of Carlingford, went on one knee and asked him to marry her.
He immediately said yes and they embraced. Minutes later they were joined by family and friends who had been tipped off about Maeve’s intentions.
Meanwhile, there were some nervous moments yesterday morning for Laura Sweeney as she proposed on live radio.
Following a competition held on station Beat 102-103, 27-year-old Laura from Cashel, Co Tipperary, won the right to make her proposal to partner PJ Colville as thousands of listeners awaited her fate.
Luckily, PJ said yes and the couple ended up with a handmade diamond engagement ring.
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