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Sunday 26 March 2017

'Our leader' McBride found dead by dad after going for a lie down

Ryan McBride’s coffin is carried from a funeral home in the centre of Derry to his house in
the Brandywell area. Photo: PA
Ryan McBride’s coffin is carried from a funeral home in the centre of Derry to his house in the Brandywell area. Photo: PA

The father of tragic Derry City captain Ryan McBride discovered his son's body hours after the soccer star had gone up to bed for a lie down.

McBride (27) died suddenly on Sunday evening and a post-mortem was concluded last night.

He is understood to have told his dad Lexie that he was going to bed at around 1pm on Sunday afternoon, with news breaking of his passing at 8pm that night.

McBride played in his team's win against Drogheda on Saturday afternoon and he then proceeded to work a shift in the Gweedore bar in Derry.

The funeral of the tragic footballer will take place on Thursday morning.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has described the tragedy as "devastating news".

Irish international James McClean played with McBride during his time in Derry and is said to be "very upset" at his sudden death, according to O'Neill, who said that anyone involved in the set-up ahead of his side's match with Wales would have his permission to pay their respects.

Devastated

"James McClean is very upset, obviously, as he played with the lad," O'Neill said.

"He's pretty devastated, so we'll see what happens.

"It's obviously devastating news, devastating for the family for someone to knock on the door and find out that a young lad of 27 in the prime of his life doesn't wake up.

Manager Kenny Shiels broke down while talking to media
Manager Kenny Shiels broke down while talking to media

"It's a real blow. This time last week I'm sure he was enjoying life, and suddenly it's gone."

In an emotional press conference, Derry City chief executive Sean Barrett said he did not think the club would ever come to terms with the passing of a warrior who never failed to fight for his side.

He spoke of the effect McBride's death will have on the rest of the team.

"They're just youngsters. Their leader has basically left them," Mr Barrett said.

"He's the man that they all looked up to.

"He was our man. He was the man that, when you had the big bullies from the big clubs coming up to us, we'd say, 'You know what, we've got Ryan and Ryan will help us and that's what he's done'.

Ryan McBride. SPORTSFILE
Ryan McBride. SPORTSFILE

"It's such a big, big loss to this club and his family are obviously devastated as everyone else is and I just don't know what we can say or do to help them. We can only try our best."

The club's next two matches have been postponed as Derry City look to come to terms with the loss of their skipper.

His funeral cortege will leave his home at 9.20am on Thursday for a requiem mass at St Columba's Church, Longtower, at 10am.

Derry City boss Kenny Shiels broke down in tears during an interview yesterday evening as he struggled to come to terms with the loss.

In a short conversation with journalists before being overcome, Shiels 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.

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

McBride is the second Derry City star to die in just over a year.

The side's record goalscorer, Mark Farren, died in February 2016 following a battle with cancer.

He had been receiving treatment for a brain tumour when he died.

Meanwhile, Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

The one-year anniversary of that horrific event took place yesterday.

Applause

Shock gripped the footballing world at the news of McBride's death, with tributes pouring in yesterday from League of Ireland clubs and those from farther afield.

The Sligo Rovers squad posted a video with a minute's applause for the tragic footballer, while Celtic and Arsenal passed on their condolences from abroad.

Current Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was in charge at Derry in 2011 when McBride broke through, and the Dubliner was yesterday still in shock following the tragedy.

"He'd have been a big hero in the city," he said.

"Everybody in Derry would have viewed him as one of their own who had come through the system, captained the team for a number of years."

Last night, McBride's remains were carried back to his family home in Bluebell Hill Gardens, near the Brandywell Stadium.

Hundreds flanked the streets as a mark of respect.

"I'm devastated," Derry City teammate Jordan Allan said.

"He was one of, if not the most passionate player I've ever played with.

"I'm grateful to have been able to play with him. He was a great captain, great heart and an even better man."

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