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Derry player Daniels who lost five loved ones in Buncrana pier tragedy returns to pitch

By Colin O'Carroll

The young professional football player who lost five members of his family in the Buncrana pier tragedy has returned to the pitch.

Derry City winger Josh Daniels came on as a substitute against Sligo Rovers at The Brandywell last night and was given a rousing reception by fans. Derry won the game 2-0.

The 20-year-old lost his mother Ruth (57); younger sister Jodi-Lee (14); brother-in-law Sean McGrotty (46), and nephews Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan in the tragedy on Sunday, March 20.

They died when their car slipped off the pier into deep water. They had gone to Buncrana in Co Donegal for a family outing and stopped on the pier to watch the sunset. The only survivor was four-month-old baby girl Rioghnach-Ann.

She was rescued by Davitt Walsh, who swam out to the car in the freezing waters and managed to get hold of her after her father pleaded "save the baby" and handed her out the window seconds before the vehicle became submerged.

Mr Walsh, who is a former League of Ireland striker, then managed to bring her to shore . He has been widely praised for his heroism.

The children's mother Louise James was away when the accident happened.

She has subsequently said the only reason she could go on was because of the survival of Rioghnach-Ann.

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