Donegal to face Ulster for Michaela

Published Monday, 01 October 2012
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All-Ireland Champions Donegal will take on Ulster's finest players during a special match to raise money for a foundation set up in memory of Michaela McAreavey, who was murdered in Mauritius.

Donegal to face Ulster for Michaela
John McAreavey and Mickey Harte with Joe Kernan and Aogán Ó Fearghail. (© GAA)

The Match for Michaela will see Armagh's Joe Kernan team up with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte to oversee Ulster's performance against Donegal's Jimmy McGuinness.

The event, due to take place at Casement Park on Saturday 3 November, is the latest in a series of events for the Michaela Foundation, which aims to inspire and encourage young people

But Michaela's father, Mickey Harte, said the heat would be on for both sides.

"Sometimes we see exhibition games where people just go through the motions, and we are not actually wanting people to come along to view an evening like that.

"We want them to come and view a competitive evening of football refereed under the normal rules and we as Ulster want to beat the All-Ireland champions, so definitely it's going to be competitive," he explained.

The match is the latest in a series of events put on by the Michaela foundation, and Mickey added it was important to his family to remember the life of the 27-year-old who was killed while on honeymoon.

"We've lost Michaela and that's so, so sad but we had a life with her when she was here and we know the things that she loved. We know what made her tick, so to speak, and to be able to bring these ideals to other young girls is uplifting for all of us.

"I know it's particularly uplifting for John, who maybe knew Michaela better than most of us. I believe that what we are doing would make Michaela smile," he told UTV.

For Michaela's widow, John McAreavey the event is about doing something positive in Michaela's memory.

"It acts as a good personal distraction for me and it's good to be able to carry on the type of work that Michaela did. She really enjoyed being a teacher and working with young people in her school.

"I'm doing ok. It's not easy but I'm doing ok."

"It always overwhelms me the amount of support we have," he added.

"We've had that as a family, from last year and for the foundation as well now."

The evening is not just about football - X Factor star Janet Devlin will perform and Irish comedian Hector Ó hEochagáin will act as compére.

The Festival of Football is expected to draw people from across Ireland with traditional music and performances by volunteers from the Michaela Girls Camp, which took place during the summer.

Ulster GAA President Aogan O Fearghail said: "Michaela McAreavey was first and foremost a Gael - she loved Gaelic Games and loved the Irish language and culture. We have all been enriched to have her part of our Association and our community and this event, we hope, will remember the life, heart and soul of a beautiful young woman who lost her life too soon.

"I urge people from across Ireland, whether you're interested in Gaelic Games or not, to come out to support this worthy cause and to celebrate Michaela's memory with her husband John and the entire Harte family."

© UTV News
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