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Tributes to popular teenager killed in Saintfield car crash

By Sophie Inge

Published 14/01/2017

Road fatality: Matthew Davis
Road fatality: Matthew Davis

A popular young footballer has become the first person to die on Northern Ireland's roads this year.

The victim, named locally as 18-year-old Matthew Davis, died after a car crash on the Lisburn Road in Saintfield on Wednesday evening.

The collision, which involved a blue Renault Megane and a black Audi A3, occurred at around 5.35pm.

William Walker, a DUP councillor for Rowallane, said: "I would like to send my heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends at this very sad time in the New Year, just after Christmas.

"From what I can see on social media the young lad was very popular. He played for my home town's football club Killyleagh.

The councillor added: "We have a lot of bad weather forecast here over the coming days and weeks and I would just ask young people to be careful when they are on the roads at this particular time."

A statement published on the Facebook page for Matthew's football club, Killyleagh YC, said: "It is with deep sadness that the club learned of the passing of Matthew Davis.

"Matty, as he was known to his team mates, captained both the u16s and u18s before progressing into both our Reserves and 1st team over the last two seasons.

"The chairman, committee, management team, players and supporters would like to pass on their sincere condolences to the Davis family and Matty's wide circle of friends.

"We ask that you keep the Davis family in your thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time."

Shane McNeill, principal at Matthew's former high school St Colmcille's, paid tribute to the young man.

"He was a great all-rounder and he was talented in all aspects of school - in sporting life and beyond," he said.

"Matthew was a very likeable and popular person who had a fantastic sense of humour as well."

He added: "He was held in the highest regard by everyone and will be deeply missed by all members of our school community. We extend our deepest sympathies to Matthew's family and the wider family circle."

Police are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the Lisburn Road in Saintfield at the time of the collision to contact officers at the collision investigation unit on 101 quoting reference 896 11/01/17.

Meanwhile, police are appealing for witnesses following a serious crash on the Plumbridge Road in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, on Friday.

The collision, which involved a grey coloured Toyota Verso, occurred shortly before 10:25am close to the junction of the A5 Beltany Road. The driver, a man aged in his 70s, was taken to hospital after suffering serious injuries.

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