Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Co Antrim village in mourning after footballer Stuart Ross dies during match

Footballer Stuart Ross (25) who tragically died while playing in an amateur league match on Saturday
Footballer Stuart Ross (25) who tragically died while playing in an amateur league match on Saturday

A Co Antrim village is in mourning after a young footballer collapsed and died during a match on Saturday afternoon.

Stuart Ross (25) died during a match for Islandmagee II against Belfast's Shankill United.

It's thought he suffered a heart attack around 25 minutes into the amateur league clash.

His side's team boss and friend Alan Wilson told the Sunday Life of the horror he witnessed, as Stuart dropped dead in from of his stunned team mates.

Islandmagee secretary Crawford Wilson admits it could be some time before the club's reserves return to action as they struggle to come to terms with the sudden and tragic death of one of their young players on Saturday.

The tragic circumstances have left some of his team-mates considering whether they will ever play again.

Mr Wilson, who was with the club's first team for their Border Cup match with Downpatrick said his son Alan, the second team's manager and a close friend of Stuart, was distraught, along with the rest of the team.

The secretary said: "He's in a bad state. We all are. I just can't get my head around this, and I can't imagine what it must have been like for the boys who were playing the match.

"We hadn't had a second team, but my son got a lot of boys from the village together to get it going again. They were all a bunch of mates who hung about and mucked about together.

"I can't see how we will be able to play for a few weeks at least. There are some of the boys who say they will never kick a ball again, which is entirely understandable."

Mr Wilson added his thanks to Shankill United for their assistance on Saturday, and said that every effort was made by the locally-based first responder unit who were quick on the scene and were advised by the emergency services over the telephone.

Meanwhile, the Northern Amateur Football League have insisted they will do everything they can to help Islandmagee during this difficult and traumatic time.

The League's chairman, Terry Pateman, visited Stuart's parents on Sunday and has offered his condolences to everyone who knew him.

Mr Pateman said: "This is an awful lot for those young boys to deal with, and we will take things as they come.

"There is no big rush, and our thoughts right now are with everyone at Islandmagee, Stuarts friends and his wider family circle."

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