Match for Michaela – Casement Park, Belfast

Last Saturday night was a very special night when the life of Michaela Mc Areavey was celebrated in Casement Park, Belfast with a night of fun, festivities and of course football!

Many glowing tributes have been paid to Michaela since her untimely death in January 2010 and nothing I write here could even come close to describing the genuine, helpful and friendly person she was. I didn’t know Michaela very well but our paths often crossed every week at St Mary’s in Belfast (or the Ranch) where we studied, at school doings after we both graduated around Dungannon, the odd night out in Newry and of course at all the Tyrone games where she would see me with a camera or two around my neck.

Spearheaded by Ulster GAA’s Ryan Feeney, John Mc Areavey and Mickey Harte, Saturday night’s event was the first major celebration of Michaela’s life and what better way to do it than have the current All-Ireland senior football champions Donegal take on an Ulster select side. As well as that, entertainment was provided by none other than X-Factor and Tyrone girl Janet Devlin, More Power to Your Elbow and a mass of young performers that entertained the crowd with an impromptu half time dance performance which was just amazing. Irish comedian and 2FM DJ Hector also ensured everything ran smoothly too with an excellent job as MC.

I have to admit that as much as I was looking forward to Saturday night, I was very nervous as I knew how much it meant to everyone but I am glad I could help out in this small way and hope that my photos have represented the spirit of the occasion. Here are a selection of images from the night……

2FM’s Hector in the Match for Michaela t-shirt at the beginning of the night.

 

The Railway band (I think) performed on the night.

 

A group of Michaela match performers on the night.

 

I got this shot of Hector wearing the Ulster GAA scarf as the temperatures in Belfast dropped.

 

John Mc Areavey and a pal enjoy the Datsun Donaghy video on the big screen.

 

Two young dance performers on the night.

 

I took up this position up on some TV scaffolding on the other end of Casement Park, Belfast.

 

The pyrotechnics go off as the Donegal team come onto Casement Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team captains and referee Maurice Deegan shake hands before the game.

 

X-Factor’s Janet Devlin sang a couple of songs on the night.

 

N.I. First Minister Peter Robinson meets some Ulster GAA Council officials.

 

The Ulster select team line out for the national anthem.

 

The Donegal team line out for the national anthem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The half time performance contained a brilliant dance routine from lots of young dancers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Mc Hugh, Peter Canavan and Mickey Harte watch the proceedings.

 

The All-Ireland winning novelty act Scor team from Errigal Ciaran did a lap of honour.

 

Mickey is interviewed by Hector.

 

Ulster GAA’s Ryan Feeney and John Mc Areavey chat at half time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyrone’s Martin Penrose was the deserved man of the match.

 

Mickey Harte watches video footage on the big screen.

 

27 Chinese lanterns were released in memory of Michaela.

 

 

 

Mickey signs a match programme at the end of the night for a supporter.

 

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