Belfast Telegraph

James Moore funeral: Mourners hear young Belfast football coach was 'completely loved'

By Christine Carrigan

A young football coach from west Belfast who died suddenly was “completely loved”, mourners at his funeral heard.

Hundreds of people gathered at St Paul’s Church on the Falls Road to say an emotional farewell to Willowbank player and youth coach James Moore.

Mr Moore, who was in his mid-20s, passed away on Friday.

In a touching tribute to the former Cliftonville Olympic, Donegal Celtic and Larne FC midfielder, a sea of green and white Celtic FC tops and Willowbank black and red flooded the church and surrounding streets.

James’ fiancée Hannah Barnes had asked people to wear football jerseys or GAA tops.

Inside St Paul’s, the pews were adorned with Willowbank hats and scarves as James’ team members and the children that he coached followed his coffin to the front of the church.

In a moving homily Father Anthony Devlin described James as “completely loved”.

He told the congregation: “James was told to go and get yourself a nice wee girl, to look after and for you to look after her. Go get yourself a wee job, go and get yourself a wee hobby, go and do something for other people, lift your heart, by lifting the hearts of others.

“Today is made harder, because James was doing all of these things, he had all of those things in his life, he lived and he loved.”

Fr Devlin said that hours before he died, James had tried to attend the Linfield v Celtic game.

“Friday was a day of such happiness for him. With his mates and his family, as he tried to blag his way into the Celtic match, getting right up to the last turnstile, but didn’t have the code to get through and trying to bribe the guy on the door and offering him £50 to let him in.

“God help St Peter when he is up there is all I say. His life was filled with love and that will continue on, there wasn’t a moment of his life that he wasn’t loved.”

James was laid to rest at nearby Milltown Cemetery.

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