Sexton tackles wedding dry run with skill

Irish rugby ace Johnny Sexton admitted yesterday he’s got the jitters ahead of his wedding today.

The 6ft 2in Irish place kicker and his beautiful bride-to-be, Laura Priestly, got in a practice session at Holy Trinity Abbey Church in Adare, Co Limerick.

Inside the church the couple laughed and joked with family members as they went through their paces.

“I’m a bit nervous, but I’m looking forward to it,” the rugby star confessed.

Ms Priestly, who remarked earlier in the day that she was apprehensive about all the media attention surrounding the couple, looked more relaxed after the pair went through their practice nuptials.

“I can’t wait,” she said with a wide smile with her rugby beau by her side.

The couple, both 27, emerged from the church in the sun-drenched quaint Limerick tourist village shortly before 5pm, after spending about an hour inside going through the tactics for today’s wedding.

Johnny — who blended in with hoards of foreign tourists in Adare, decked out in a black collar t-shirt, khaki pants and converse trainers — revealed Adare has always been close to his heart.

“Two generations of my family got married here and we pass through it going to Kerry going to see my family and we just fell in love with it when we first arrived to have a look,” explained Johnny.

Laura, who wore a simple summery white top with stylish skinny jeans and ray ban sunglasses, and her husband-to-be, headed off in their 131 D registered silver VW Touareg 4x4 to the nearby plush grounds of Adare Manor where they will host their wedding reception and stay overnight.

The Sexton wedding party will dine in the immense Minstrel’s Gallery, where from stained glass window, crusading knights and their wives seem to follow your progress through the room.

Most of the knights which surround the exquisite dining room are the forbears of Lady Caroline and were commemorated in glass by her husband ‘in love and honour of her’ — a fitting story for Johnny and Laura.

After dinner, the wedding guests will make their way down the sweeping spiral staircase, leaving Manor staff to clear tables to open space up for dancing in the Gallery.

The wedding party has the option of watching a fireworks display over the landscaped grounds or, catch a glimpse of falcons at their aerial acrobats over the river, house and manicured lawns.

Back in the Gallery, the band will strike up and Johnny will tackle his way through the scrum of guests before taking his wife to the floor for their first dance together as man and wife.

Grandmother’s pride

By Jimmy Woulfe

After opening up her shop in Lower William St, she walks up to her neighbour Mary Keane as Mary prepares to open the family pub six doors from Ms Sexton’s business.

Both women, now in their 80s, reared their families together. They still run businesses together, and would have it no other way.

Today, Brenda Sexton will be in Adare to lead the Sexton clan down the aisle of the Holy Trinity Church where her grandson Jonathan Sexton, marries his childhood sweetheart, Laura Priestly, a Dublin primary school teacher.

Mary Keane can’t make it to the wedding, but will be represented by her eldest son, the publican/journalist Billy Keane, who also happens to be Jonathan Sexton’s godfather.

The newlyweds will shortly move to a house in Paris as Jonathan pursues his stellar career with Racing Metro.


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