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Funeral of Derry City's captain Ryan McBride to be held

The funeral of Derry City football captain Ryan McBride will be held later.

He was found dead at home on Sunday night aged 27. The cause of death is unknown.

Hundreds are expected to attend the service at St Columba's Church Longtower in the city. He will be interred in the City Cemetery.

Chief mourners will be his father Lexie, sisters Colleen, Siunin and Caitlain and partner Mairead.

The fans' favourite lived in a terrace house beside the club's Brandywell ground where he has played since 2011.

His club said he would be remembered by teammates and supporters as one of the greats.

Local community worker Donncha Mac Niallais said: "He did not want to play in the World Cup, he wanted to play in the Brandywell and that is how people will remember him."

A special tribute will be made at the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin on Friday.

A minute's applause will be held prior to Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier with Norway in Belfast this weekend.

Former close teammate and Republic of Ireland international James McClean said McBride was a warrior who would throw his body on the line.

Liverpool FC strikers Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore and the president of Ireland Michael D Higgins were among others expressing their condolences.

Mr Mac Niallais said McBride worked with all the youth clubs in the area, helping young people with their game.

He added: "He would have just gone out and given his experience and skills in helping aspiring young footballers, boys and girls who aspired to do what he did.

"He captained his team and was really proud of that."

He added: "There is a sense of great sadness about young Ryan, the contribution he made in a very short life to the local area, particularly through football."

McBride was a firm favourite with fans thanks in part to his committed style of defending.

He played more than 100 league matches for Derry.

His last match was a 4-0 triumph over Drogheda United in the League of Ireland Premier Division on Saturday, the top league in the Republic of Ireland.

This is the latest tragedy to strike Derry City FC in just over a year.

Ex-striker Mark Farren died aged 33 in February 2016. Derry's record goalscorer had been receiving treatment for an aggressive brain tumour.

A year ago, Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy. A car slid off the pier and entered Lough Swilly.

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