Monday, March 20, 2017

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets as Northern Irish football club captain Ryan McBride was carried home by his teammates.

Friends and Derry City FC supporters applauded as McBride, 27, who died suddenly at home on Sunday night, was borne amid a wave of grief to his native Brandywell.

Children and their parents wearing the red and white of the Candystripes stood in respectful silence.

Former close teammate and Republic of Ireland international James McClean said McBride was a warrior who would throw his body on the line.

Liverpool FC strikers Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore and the president of Ireland Michael D Higgins were among others expressing their condolences.

The fans’ favourite lived in a terrace house beside the club’s Brandywell ground where he has played since 2011.

His club said he would be remembered by teammates and supporters as one of the greats.

“They are deeply shocked and will miss his inspiration and his leadership.”

Manager Kenny Shiels added: “Ryan never gave 99%.”

A Derry City number 5 shirt was pinned outside the Brandywell gate in tribute. His image was painted as street art onto a nearby wall.

He leaves his “heartbroken” father Lexie, sisters Colleen, Siunin and Caitlain and partner Mairead. His mother Noreen died some time ago.

A funeral notice confirmed that his funeral would take place at St Columba’s Church in Derry on Thursday.

The funeral cortege is scheduled to leave McBride’s home at 9.20am for requiem mass at 10am, with interment to follow in the city cemetery.

McBride was a firm favourite with fans thanks in part to his committed style of defending. He played more than 100 league matches for Derry.

His last match was a 4-0 triumph over Drogheda United in the League of Ireland Premier Division on Saturday, the top league in the Republic of Ireland.

The club’s SSE Airtricity Premier League game against Limerick on Tuesday has been postponed.

It said: “We will remember his civility and humility off the field, his commitment and passion on it and the deep love he carried in his heart for Derry City Football Club.”

This is the second tragedy to strike the team in just over a year.

Ex-Derry City and Glenavon striker Mark Farren died aged 33 in February 2016. Derry’s record goalscorer had been receiving treatment for an aggressive brain tumour.

A year ago, Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy. A car slid off the pier and entered Lough Swilly.

John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, said Irish football was in mourning after losing a “true great of the game”.

A special tribute to McBride will be made at the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin on Friday.

Democratic Unionist leader and former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein Assembly member Raymond McCartney were among those offering condolences.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, also tweeted his sympathies.

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