Belfast Telegraph

James McClean pays tribute to Derry City captain Ryan McBride: 'Sleep tight big man, may God bless you and your family'

By Aidan Fitzmaurice

James McClean has paid his respects to "warrior" Ryan McBride who died suddenly at the age of 27 on Sunday.

McBride, who began playing for his home-town team Derry in 2011 and starred for the side alongside current Republic of Ireland star McClean, had played in all four games for City this season, most recently Saturday's 4-0 win over Drogheda United.

His former manager at Derry, current Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny, and McClean were at RTE headquarters in Dublin attending the FAI International awards when news came through.

McClean, who will be excused from training with the senior Ireland team this week to attend the funeral, shared a poignant tribute on Instagram.

"Tonight we lost someone [I] had to the privilege to play along aside but also got on well with of the field, a warrior that literally would throw his body on the line when he pulled on that Derry City jersey, a club that meant so much to him, but more importantly a big gentleman of the field.. sleep tight big man may god bless you and your family #5 #townilovedsowell."

This is the latest tragedy to strike the Brandywell club. Last year, popular striker Mark Farren died at the age of 33 after battling with a brain tumour. Also last year, current Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother in law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

McBride scored the winner for Derry in their recent win away to Shamrock Rovers and he was also on target for the Candystripes in their 3-1 win over champions Dundalk last week.

He played in Derry's 4-0 win over Drogheda on Saturday and, according to Tony O'Donoghue on RTE, went to work in a bar that evening but left early to go home to bed as he wasn't feeling well.

Tributes have been pouring in from around the Irish football community with players, ex-players, and clubs offering their condolences.

"Can't believe the tragic news I've just heard about Ryan Mcbride... An absolute warrior on the pitch. Thoughts are with his family," wrote Galway United midfielder Gavan Holohan.

"We are shocked to hear this evening the passing of our member and @derrycityfc Captain Ryan McBride. Our thoughts are with his family," wrote PFAI Ireland.

"No words. Devastating," wrote Erin McClean, wife of Irish international and former teammate James McClean.

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