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24th Sep 2017

Scenes at Croke Park as Derry player gets engaged after All-Ireland Final

Love is in the air.

Conan Doherty

How could you not be romantic about football?

There are few things as beautiful in this life as watching someone’s unrelenting obsession with what most people would just call a game.

The road to Croke Park consumes the people of Ireland and it doesn’t matter if you’re a junior club player or a senior inter-county star, we’re united and divided by the same desire to get hands on the holy grail, whatever that may be.

Across three finals on Sunday, ladies footballers from all over the country had the opportunity to turn their own dreams into a reality and showcase the sport to the rest of the land and show that it would do justice and then some to the great battles that echo on Jones’ Road now.

The first game – a junior decider between Derry and Fermanagh – ended in a thrilling draw with the Oak Leaf county squandering a nine-point lead despite player of the match Emma Doherty’s best efforts. The midfielder finished with five points for her day’s work.

But, whilst both counties will have to do it all again, not everything was left up in the air.

Doherty’s club mate Ciara McGurk, who hit the Fermanagh net in the first half, had massive cause for celebration afterwards when she was presented with a ring and a question.

The Steelstown star – a former ladies football All-Star – met her partner Ryan McCloskey on the pitch, with Ryan going down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.

Thankfully, for his sake and the thousands in attendance, she said yes.

Anytime you get a chance to visit Croke Park, it’s a special occasion.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to step foot on its soil, never take it for granted.

Now, for Ciara McGurk and Ryan McCloskey, it will hold the memory of the moment their lives changed forever.

Who said romance is dead?