'Absolute legend' of a dad and football coach Gary McLoughlin laid to rest in Newry

​Amateur footballers in Newry were among those paying tribute to former player and coach Gary ‘Cookie’ McLoughlin at his funeral service in the city on Thursday.
Funeral of Gary McLoughlin in Newry. Photo: PacemakerFuneral of Gary McLoughlin in Newry. Photo: Pacemaker
Funeral of Gary McLoughlin in Newry. Photo: Pacemaker

​Mr McLoughlin, who had associations with several clubs, died after being struck by a vehicle on the Forkhill Road in Newry on Saturday night.

Police said the incident occurred around 10.40pm.

Mr McLoughlin was aged in his 40s and lived at Mill Meadows in Bessbrook.

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His son Matthew led the tributes at the requiem mass at St Brigid’s Church.

In an emotional address, he described his dad as his “best friend,” and said: “There is so much I am going to miss.”

Matthew added: “You always taught me to be the best version of myself and always do what I want to do in life, not what others tell me to do. I will do my best to be as good as you, you absolute legend.”

Mourners also heard that Gary and Matthew’s love for each other “created a bond that can never be broken”.

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Following news of the weekend road tragedy, Newry side Ashgrove Rovers paid an online tribute to a player they described as a “club legend.”

In a Facebook post, they said: “As a club we are devastated to hear about the passing of former player Gary ‘Cookie’ McLoughlin.

“Cookie was with us for six seasons over two spells and helped the club win its first trophy with him opening the scoring in the cup final.

“He definitely will go down as a club legend as you always knew when he was around you were guaranteed a laugh and good time.”

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Mr McLoughlin was buried at Monks Hill cemetery in the city following the funeral service.

Meanwhile, the funerals of three other road victims will take place on Friday in the Armagh area.

Keith Morrison, 22, (Lislooney Presbyterian Church, Tynan at noon) Marina Crilly, 24, (St Patrick's Church Ballymacnab at 11am) and Philip Mitchell, 27, (First Presbyterian Church Armagh at 2.30pm) were all killed when the car they were travelling in crashed on the Ballynahonemore Road in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A fourth victim from the same collision, 22-year-old Emma Mallon, will be buried at St Joseph’s cemetery in Madden following a 2pm service at St John’s Church in Middletown on Sunday.

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