IRISH soccer captain Robbie Keane enjoyed the best match of his life over the weekend as he married his long-term girlfriend, model Claudine Palmer, in a lavish, star-studded ceremony.
The Spurs striker banished any blues about Ireland’s failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 championship as he tied the knot with his model girlfriend at the St Alphonsus and Columba Church in the south Dublin suburb of Ballybrack on Saturday afternoon.
It might all have been a different result if Robbie had led Ireland to the finals in Switzerland and Austria, as the couple would have been forced to change the date of their nuptials.
Instead, they hosted the first big celebrity wedding of the year in Ireland, as more than 300 guests including many leading Premier League players attended a ceremony estimated to have cost the Irish captain more than e500,000.
Guests arrived for the church ceremony in a fleet of Bus Éireann vehicles while the main wedding parties travelled in a variety of vintage models including Bentleys and a Rolls Royce.
Dressed in a blue three-piece suit, Robbie, 27, arrived early at the church in warm sunshine.
The bride, dressed in a full-length, white sequined, silk satin dress by Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab, was assisted by five bridesmaids including her groom’s sisters, Tash and Amy.
During the hour-long ceremony, music was provided by folk singer, Mary Black and the Dublin Gospel Choir.
Robbie, from Tallaght, has been going out with Claudine, 25, for the past six years and both joked on their official wedding invitations that the event had taken years to organise.
The happy couple posed briefly for photos outside the church for the large crowd of press photographers who had earlier been offered champagne by security guards in a good-humoured atmosphere.
The occasion proved a big WAG-fest for onlookers waiting outside the church grounds as the wedding was attended by a host of Irish and international soccer stars accompanied by their wives and girlfriends.
Among the guests were Irish footballers Shay Given, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne, as well as Robbie’s former Irish teammates, Stephen Carr, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly and Gary Breen.
Others footballers attending the ceremony included Michael Carrick, Jonathan Woodgate, Jamie Redknapp and Jermaine Jenas. Among the bride’s guests were fellow models, former Miss World, Rosanna Davison and Pippa O’Connor, who was accompanied by her boyfriend, TV presenter, Brian Ormond.
After the church ceremony, guests were brought by bus to the upmarket Ritz Carlton hotel at Powerscourt, Co Wicklow, where they were treated to a champagne reception and a meal prepared by chefs from the Gordon Ramsay restaurant.
Security was extra tight at the Enniskerry hotel with guests required to hand over cameras and mobile phones, as it is understood the couple had struck an exclusive deal with OK! magazine for the rights to their official wedding photographs.
However, any vestige of excess about the Keanes’ reception will be completely overshadowed by next Thursday’s wedding of England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney to his childhood sweetheart, Coleen McLoughlin in Italy, due to cost €5m.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved