Shock as ex-captain of Derry GAA Kevin McCloy collapses on the field
A Gaelic football star was in a critical condition last night after collapsing on the field at the beginning of a game.
Kevin McCloy, fullback and captain of Lavey GAA club, fell to the ground 11 minutes into Championship match against Magherafelt at Owenbeg near Dungiven last night.
The former Derry GAA captain fell to the ground just as he was about to take a free kick. It is believed he lost his pulse for around three minutes but doctors at the scene managed to revive him.
The 35-year-old was taken in an ambulance to Altnagelvin Area Hospital in a critical condition and the game was abandoned.
Last night the chairman of Derry GAA, John Keenan, spoke of his "shock" at the incident and said his prayers were with Kevin and his family.
"We are not sure what caused this and I don't want to speculate but all I know is one of our Derry players left the grounds in a critical state and is in a serious condition in hospital. He was on his own when he fell to the ground.
"This happens all too often to young men in football but we never expected this.
"It's terrible. My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and his family."
Mr McCloy, a civil engineer, won a National League title when he played for Derry and also won an All Star – awarded to those deemed to be the best footballer in their position – for his impressive performances in the 2007 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
He led Derry to victory in the Dr McKenna Cup against Tyrone in 2011.
As well as Gaelic football, the star athlete also plays hurling for Lavey and won an Ulster Senior Hurling Championship medal when he played for Derry.
In football he is seen as a tough, old-fashioned full back, who is also very competent with the ball in his hands going forward and a good reader of the game.
Concerned GAA fans took to social media to wish him a speedy recovery and to pass on their prayers.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was one of the concerned fans who sent his good wishes.
He tweeted: "Thoughts and prayers with Kevin McCloy his family and Lavey GAC. Warmest best wishes for a speedy recovery."
Niall Donnelly tweeted: "Serious news coming out of Derry tonight. All the best with recovery, Kevin McCloy."
BBC sports presenter Thomas Niblock posted: "Blessed candle lit for Kevin McCloy and hope he makes a full recovery from a collapse tonight #Gentleman."
Stephen McGeehan tweeted: "Kevin McCloy – leader, captain and gentleman. Praying his well renowned strength and determination prevails."
A spokeswoman at the Western Health Trust said she was unable to contact Mr McCloy's family last night to obtain permission for a condition report but confirmed he was being treated at Altnagelvin Area Hospital.