Much-loved footballer Ryan McBride, captain of Derry City FC, will be laid to rest in his home city on Thursday, where a “cloud of sadness” has been hanging in recent days.
The sudden death of Mr McBride, a 27-year-old athlete in the prime of his life, shocked both the local community and the wider footballing fraternity.
He passed away at home on Sunday, the day after captaining his team to victory over Dundalk in the League of Ireland. The cause of death has not been announced.
Members of Derry City FC’s first team helped carry his remains to his home in the Brandywell area on Monday night, flanked by hundreds of mourners who applauded as his coffin passed by.
Fellow Derry City player Ronan Curtis paid a touching tribute as he laid a floral tribute at the gates of the Brandywell Stadium with the heartbreaking words: “I’m going to miss your encouragement but I know you’ll be looking down on us and keeping us right.”
Mr McBride’s funeral will take place at St Columba’s Church, Long Tower at 10am, followed by burial at the City Cemetery. The funeral of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness will also be held at the same church on Thursday, in the afternoon.
SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan spoke of a ‘cloud of sadness’ hanging over his home town.
“It is a very sad time for the city with the funerals of both Ryan McBride and Martin McGuinness taking place,” he said.
“There has been a cloud of sadness hanging over the city this past few days, which also coincides with the anniversary of the Buncrana pier tragedy.”