Sunday 19 January 2020

Derry comes to standstill for tragic local hero McBride

Tributes flow for 'warrior' who lived for his club

Late Derry City captain Ryan McBride Photo by David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Late Derry City captain Ryan McBride Photo by David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Adrian Rutherford and Ryan Nugent

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Derry as local hero Ryan McBride made his final journey home following his sudden death.

Grief-stricken friends and family applauded as the coffin of the 27-year-old was carried shoulder-high in to his home in the Brandywell district of the city last night.

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

Mr McBride played in Derry City's 4-0 victory over Drogheda United on Saturday.

It is understood he went to work in a bar that evening but left early to go home to bed as he wasn't feeling well. On Sunday, he told his father Lexie that he was going to bed for a lie down. It is believed that when a family member checked on him he had passed away. It is still not clear what caused his death.

A post-mortem was concluded on his remains last night.

Meanwhile, the city of Derry was united in grief following his sudden passing.

A Derry City number 5 shirt was pinned outside the Brandywell gate in tribute, while his image was painted 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.

The devastated boss of Derry City, Kenny Shiels, broke down in tears yesterday as he mourned the loss of the inspirational captain McBride who spent his whole career with his hometown club.

An emotional Mr Shiels said the 27-year-old was the perfect example to any footballer.

Fighting back tears as he spoke to reporters yesterday, Mr Shiels, the team manager, said: "It's hard for everybody to take.

"We keep saying through adversity we will get stronger, but this is going to be a difficult one for everyone in the city.

Read More: Derry’s quiet man who led by example

Ryan McBride's coffin is carried to the family home in Derry. Photo: Lorcan Doherty
Ryan McBride's coffin is carried to the family home in Derry. Photo: Lorcan Doherty

"The players, they loved Ryan, he was the perfect example to them coming through at 14 and 15 years old. Ryan never gave 99pc."

Mr McBride made his debut for the club aged 21, in May 2011, and played more than 100 league matches.

After being made captain in 2015, he said: "Other footballers have dreams of going across the water and playing for Man United and Celtic.

"But my dream as a boy was to play for Derry City and that came true."

A tribute posted on Derry's Twitter page read simply: "Captain. Leader. Legend and absolute gentleman".

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

Derry City chief executive Sean Barrett said: "He led boys to become men and he was a man.

"He was everything that is associated with Derry City Football Club and indeed the whole city."

A tribute will be made at the World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium against Wales on Friday.

His friend James McClean paid an emotional tribute to McBride on Instagram as news broke of his death.

The West Brom player will be excused training with the Irish international team this week to attend the funeral.

Read More: Hundreds line the streets as Derry City teammates carry Ryan McBride's coffin home

He described Mr McBride as a "warrior" and someone who would throw his body on the line for his team.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "The whole football family on the island of Ireland is shocked by the tragic news of Ryan McBride's passing.

"Our thoughts are with his family and with Derry City Football Club, its supporters and staff."

Former Wales striker John Hartson said: "Terribly sad news hearing Derry City footballer Ryan McBride has passed away."

Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton said it was "extremely sad news".

Away from football, DUP leader Arlene Foster expressed her "deepest condolences", adding it was "such devastating news".

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

Mr McBride's funeral will take place on Thursday morning at St Columba's Church in Derry.

Irish Independent

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