Casement to host a feast of culture and sport

Michaela event to light up West

By Conor McLoughlin

T he life of Michaela McAreavey will be celebrated at a major event in Andersonstown next month. The ‘Match for Michaela’, which will see reigning All-Ireland Football Champions Donegal face an Ulster select side at Casement Park, will be the biggest-ever floodlit event at the famous West Belfast stadium.

The event on November 3 is aimed at the entire community and will also include music and entertainment, with former X Factor star Janet Devlin and the lively More Power to Your Elbow among the acts already signed up for the event. The evening will be compered by RTÉ 2FM’s Hector Ó hEochagáin and other ‘surprise’ acts are likely to be announced in the near future.

All proceeds from the event, which runs from 6pm to 10pm, will go to the Michaela Foundation, named after Michaela McAreavey, who was murdered while on honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011. Michaela was no stranger to West Belfast having attended St Mary’s University College, and was one of the best-known supporters of Tyrone GAA, whose footballers have been managed to three All-Ireland titles by Michaela’s father Mickey.

The highlight of the special evening at Casement Park is sure to be the not-to-be-missed competitive Gaelic football match which will see All-Ireland champions Donegal take on an Ulster provincial side, managed by Joe Kernan.

This will be an opportunity for the people of Ulster and Ireland to see the All-Ireland Champions being put to the test by their friends in Ulster.

Traditional Irish music will also feature with a specially commissioned ‘Railway Band’ made up of singers and musicians from across Ulster’s nine counties.  Little Stars Academy in Armagh will also feature in a very special performance as well as music from theMichaela Girls Camp and the famous Artane Band.

The big screen will be a central feature on the evening, with plenty of entertainment promised and the memory, values and principles of Michaela kept very much alive.

Tickets are now on sale for this special one-off event from www.tickets.ie, from County Boards and GAA clubs and from participating Supervalu and Centra stores nationwide.  This is expected to be a sell-out festival and donations are also very welcome.  Tickets are priced at £10/€10 for adults and £5/€5 for children.

The event was launched at Casement Park on Monday morning and Michaela’s husband John McAreavey hoped the event would help the expansion of the Michaela Girls Summer Camps which launched in Tyrone this year.

“I am really excited about this event,” said John. “We have a great team working behind the scenes and are confident spectators will enjoy a fantastic evening of entertainment.”

Mickey Harte thanked everyone involved in the planning of the event.

“On behalf of our entire family I wish to express my most sincere thanks to the Ulster Council for affording us this opportunity to remember Michaela in such a special way,” said Mickey.

“The family of the GAA  have been so supportive of us all since the word of this terrible tragedy filtered through and for that we will be eternally grateful.

“A special word of thanks to all those, too numerous to mention, who have given of their time and expertise so willingly.”

Ulster GAA President Aogan O Fearghail said: “Ulster GAA is very pleased to be working in partnership with the Michaela Foundation for this very special event.”

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