Tipperary-Kilkenny couple in match of the day before final

Anne Marie and Paul forced to delay start of wedding banquet because of final replay

Paul Aylward from Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny,  and Anne Marie Kennedy from Killenaule, Co Tipperary, who are getting married in Clonmel today. Photograph: Mary Browne

Paul Aylward from Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, and Anne Marie Kennedy from Killenaule, Co Tipperary, who are getting married in Clonmel today. Photograph: Mary Browne

 

John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer has a lot to answer for. Not only would he have won Tipperary’s 27th All-Ireland had his injury-time free gone over the bar three weeks ago, but he could have saved his neighbour, Anne Marie Kennedy, and her fiancé, Paul Aylward, no small bit of bother.

Kennedy (33), from Killenaule in Co Tipperary, and Aylward (36), from Mullinavat in Co Kilkenny, started planning their nuptials earlier this year.“We booked this back in the middle of January,” says Aylward, “so the odds back then of of a Kilkenny-Tipperary final were short enough, but the odds of it going to a replay for the third year in a row – that was a million to one shot, and we hit the jackpot !”

As shrewd hurling folk, they hadn’t entirely discounted the possibility of a replay so they fixed their wedding for a Saturday – but with the Cork and Dublin women’s footballers playing their final on Sunday, the couple’s best-laid plans suddenly went awry.

“We watched the drawn game on TV,” says Kennedy. “We had to shake hands before it and we took a photograph to show we could be civil, but we were kind of sitting on opposite chairs looking at it and then when it ended in a draw, they said straight away the replay was going to be the Saturday.

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘Are we going to have to change the wedding?’ . . . And then the phone started hopping with everyone on to us.”

Hotel Minella in Clonmel came to the rescue. The wedding is taking place in Moyglass at 1.30pm, with the guests originally scheduled to tuck into dinner at 5pm, just as referee Brian Gavin is about to throw in the sliotar at Croke Park, but the meal has been pushed back.

“We have 150 guests,” says Kennedy, “and they are split half and half between Tipp and Kilkenny, so we are going to have TV screens in the Horse Shoe bar in the Minella so they can watch the game – hopefully it won’t go to extra-time or they won’t be fed at all.”

Aylward chips in: “My people would be big into hurling and Anne Marie’s people would be pretty staunch too – there’s a great rivalry between Tipp and Kilkenny and I’m sure that will get an airing on Saturday. I expect there will be plenty of . . . ” – he pauses for a word and then laughs – “banter”.

The couple, who met three years ago working in Irish Public Bodies Insurance, in Dublin, are staying loyal to their home counties when predicting the winner, although Aylward, who hurls now with St Jude’s in Dublin, is disappointed Henry Shefflin is not starting for the Cats.

“I was more confident before I heard the team,” he says. “Starting Henry would have been a huge lift, and there are a lot changes to the half-back line as well, but hopefully they will do it. I thought they had it when they went three points out against Tipp the last day, but Tipp came back well.”

And the last word to Kennedy: “Oh, Tipp to win by a point and Bubbles to score the winner!”