Derry GAA footballer's joy at surprise marriage proposal in Croke Park
THE game may have ended in a draw, but one Derry ladies footballer was still celebrating – after her partner made a surprise pitch-side marriage proposal.
Ciara McGurk was being interviewed by Dáithí Ó Sé after the dramatic All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Final against Fermanagh when boyfriend Ryan McCloskey got down on one knee.
The romantic moment on the sidelines of Dublin's Croke Park was broadcast on TG4 and captured live on RTÉ Radio 1's Facebook page.
Cheers erupted from the crowd and Ms McGurk covered her face with her hands in shock, before embracing her boyfriend with a kiss.
Speaking to The Irish News last night, the 26-year-old student said it was her first time playing in Croke Park – and the proposal made her debut even more special.
"I just love my Gaelic. To have it done there in Croke Park was so special. It meant so much," the Steelstown player said.
"I'm still in shock. Everyone has been so delighted and so buzzing and over the moon for me. My phone hasn't stopped – it has been just 'go-go-go'."
Ms McGurk and Mr McCloskey (28), who works for Translink, have been together for three years and live in Creggan, Derry, with her five-year-old daughter Eilidh and their 18-month-old son Conlaodh.
Reacting to the televised marriage proposal, Ms McGurk said: "I couldn't believe it. I was just over the moon.
"It was so many mixed emotions – for it to be a draw and then that to happen. I didn't even hear him ask and then I ran over and kissed him.
"He had a ring and he had everything planned. I can't believe he did it – because he can barely change the bins. That's my pet hate," she joked.
GAA fans shared the heart-warming footage on social media sites and sent their best wishes to the newly engaged couple.
Derry GAA tweeted: "She said YES! When you play in an All-Ireland final and get engaged after the game! Congratulations to Ciara McGurk and Ryan McCloskey," and included a ring emoji in the message.
The marriage proposal came after Ms McGurk took part in the Ladies Junior Football Final against Ulster rivals Fermanagh – one of Sunday's three finals at Croke Park.
The Erne county were nine points behind but managed to force a replay with a dramatic goal from a penalty in the dying seconds of the game.
The sides finished Derry 2-10 to Fermanagh's 3-07. They will have to do it all over again in a fortnight's time on October 8.
Ms McGurk said that despite a win being so close, she was content with a draw because Derry were "underdogs going into the game" after being beaten by Fermanagh several times this year.