herald

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Duffer gets over the Hand of Henry by taking Elaine's hand in marriage

Soccer star Damien Duff scored himself a wife after walking down the aisle today.

The 31-year-old Fulham midfielder may have missed out on the World Cup -- thanks to the 'Hand of Henry' -- but he has used his extra time at home to get hitched to girlfriend Elaine.

The Ballinteer native tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at upmarket Babington House in England at a bash attended by close family and friends.

The Somerset venue is the same place Fatboy Slim married radio presenter Zoe Ball in 1999.

Damien and Elaine were desperate to keep the details of their big day under wraps to ensure it was an intimate affair.

Beautiful

However, the Herald can reveal that beautiful Elaine was wearing a one-off piece from top designer Temperley and that the couple appealed to their 100 guests not to splash out on buying them presents.

Instead, they have followed Robbie and Claudine Keane's lead by asking guests to make a donation to a children's hospital in Dublin.

The star couldn't have picked a better place than Babington House to get married in -- given its secluded location.

A Georgian estate set over 18-acres, it has its own chapel on the grounds dating back to 1750. There's also 32 individually-designed bedrooms alongside a luxury spa area and countless opportunities for picturesque wedding pics.

Damien, who is worth €16m, and Bray native Elaine (26) have been dating for more than two years after meeting through mutual pals, but were friends for years.

Just before Christmas, the smitten star went down on bended knee and popped the question, presenting her with a ring worth an estimated €50,000. His proposal came just a few weeks after Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup by France in the November 2009 qualifier.

Since then the couple have been busy planning for their big day.

Among those who attended were Damien's proud parents Gerard and Mary, alongside his siblings Jenny, Lyndsey, Gerard Jnr and Jamie.

Celebrate

Other guests included his best pal, Robbie Keane, and wife Claudine, who cut short their holiday in Sardinia so they could be at the wedding.

Also there were several of his Fulham pals as they helped him celebrate the occasion in style.

But don't expect to see pictures of Duff and his new bride splashed all over a glossy magazine in a big-money deal.

Damien has vowed that the ceremony won't be heavily featured in any UK publication. The soccer legend rarely speaks about his relationships and it only emerged last year that he was in another relationship.

His last serious relationship was with Trinity graduate Eileen Flanagan, whom he dated for more than three years.

mfinn@herald.ie

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