NI women’s football team captain ties knot with new wife
Northern Ireland women’s captain Marissa Callaghan has tied the knot with her long-term partner Paula Reed.
The Cliftonville player (37) got married on Friday before getting wedding pictures taken at her home ground of Solitude in north Belfast.
Later that evening Cliftonville Ladies had to do without Marissa when they beat Linfield Ladies 7-1 to progress to the Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Earlier this year, before her team headed off to Euro 2022, Marissa revealed how she first met her bride Paula, with whom she has a toddler son Quinn, at a coaching session at Carmoney Ladies football team.
“Paula was helping out with the youngsters and I was up there coaching at a wee after-schools programme,” Marissa said. “I remember running in late and she was there. Paula always slags me that I was a bit rude — that was our first-ever meeting. I thought she was one of the kids’ parents.”
She told the Belfast Telegraph that they later met in the Union Street Bar in Belfast city centre.
“I was going to the toilet and Paula was sitting there with her sister and her friend and we were just chatting. She’d just done the marathon that day and was going to the Canary Islands for a week.
“The next time was at a Cliftonville Ladies game and she texted me after the game. So we started to text but it was more like a friendship thing.
“We’d go for a coffee or an ice-cream. I’d just broken up with someone so it was something I didn’t know if I wanted to get involved again. So it was really slow. Like, really slow!
“And then we eventually had our first date. It was a Bruno Mars concert. My mummy and me were supposed to go but she was sick. So I called Paula to go and that was our first proper date.”
Almost three years ago Paula gave birth to their son Quinn.
Marissa, from the Falls Road in west Belfast, explained: “It was all planned. Paula wanted to carry. I can’t say it was something I always wanted to do – carry a baby. But when Paula turned 33 we decided to try IVF and four attempts later…
“Quinn could buy and sell you. He’s just so loveable.”
Earlier this year she captained the NI team which beat Latvia 3-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Jurmala two weeks ago.
Northern Ireland failed to progress to the World Cup finals and were locked into a third-place finish behind Euro 2022 winners England and Austria, but the win secured a record points tally of 19 in a qualification campaign.