The entire Irish football family is still in shock this morning since hearing the devastating news of Ryan McBride’s death.
The 27 year old Derry City captain was found dead at his home yesterday only hours after he’d led his side to victory against Drogheda United.
He had been enjoying an excellent start to the season pitching in with important goals against Rovers (here in Tallaght) and Dundalk as his side made racked up impressive early wins.
Stephen Kenny, who managed McBride and gave him his debut for Derry City in 2011, last night paid a glowing tribute to the Candystripes skipper.
Speaking at the FAI International Awards the Dundalk manager and Tallaght native said:
“I couldn’t believe the news. It’s a real tragedy.
“Last week, we brought our Dundalk team up to play Derry City in Buncrana and he scored the winning goal – a header from a corner, which was his trademark.
“I shook hands with him and was chatting to him.
“He was a ferociously brave player, the bravest I’ve ever seen on a football pitch.
“He just launched himself at every challenge.
“Aggressive in the air and brave to a fault nearly, which endeared him to everybody.
“He was every fan’s favourite player and a great captain of Derry City.
“He was just a really decent guy. He wore his heart on his sleeve but he was a shy individual.”
“Ryan was from the Brandywell area and lived in the houses connected right to the pitch.
“His house overlooked the Brandywell and I used to say that he could watch the matches from his bedroom window.
“Everybody in Derry would have viewed him as one of their own who had come through the system.”
This is the third tragedy to hit Derry City Football Club in recent times following the death of former player Mark Farren and the deaths of current player Joshua Daniels’ mother, sister, brother in law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy last year.
President Michael D. Higgins also paid tribute to Ryan McBride:
“Along with all those who support Irish football,
“I express my sadness and condolences to the family of Derry captain Ryan McBride.”