Newly crowned All-Ireland football champions Donegal will test their mettle against a team of Ulster’s finest players for a special match in memory of murdered bride Michaela McAreavey.
Organisers of the ‘Match for Michaela’, which takes place in Belfast’s Casement Park on November 3, have promised that a galaxy of stars will be in action in front of a crowd of up to 30,000 spectators.
The match will see Armagh’s Joe Kernan team up with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte to oversee Ulster’s performance against Donegal’s Jimmy McGuinness.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Michaela Foundation, which plans to build a centre in her name in her native Tyrone and continue its programme of student scholarships.
Announcing details of the event, Michaela’s husband John McAreavey said the foundation wanted to “spread our wings throughout Ireland” in the years ahead.
It recently held a successful summer camp for 70 girls aged 11-13 years in Michaela’s native county and Mr McAreavey said he wanted to extend that programme to every county in the country.
Girls were treated to a range of activities from cupcake decorating and Irish dancing to learning about the rosary.
“It was a very girlie, girlie experience, but that was exactly what Michaela was,” he said.
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 for Michaela - described as a “festival with football” - will be compered by 2FM’s Hector O hEochagain and will feature a range of musical acts including former X-Factor singer Janet Devlin.
Tickets for the match cost €10 for adults and €5 for children and are available through www.tickets.ie, county boards and GAA clubs and from participating Centra and SuperValu stores nationwide. See michaelafoundation.com