Belfast Telegraph

Community left 'devastated' after death of Co Down footballer Niall O'Hanlon

He was described as the "heart and soul" of his team

By Mark Edwards

Tributes have been paid to a 25-year-old footballer who was killed after being hit by a car in Co Down.

Niall O'Hanlon, who lived in Magheralin and played for the village's football team, died after being struck by a car on New Forge Road, close to the Steps Road junction at around 10.30pm on Friday.

Magheralin Village FC, posting on its Facebook page, wrote: "Last night our wing wizard and best friend was tragically taken from us. He was the heart and soul of our wee football club and village. He will be sorely missed.

"We love you Niall. Rest in peace. Thoughts and prayers are with Niall’s family and friends at this time."

Billy Fyffe, speaking to the Lurgan Mail, said: “The boys are in bits. The whole community has just been devastated by this."

“Niall really was our best friend. He was the heart and soul of the village and our football team.

"He was just such a genuinely lovely guy and no one had a bad word to say about him. He was everyone’s friend and everyone loved him.

“His family, friends and the whole community are just devastated by what’s happened. We can’t believe he’s gone.”

new_forge_road.jpg
New Forge Road. Credit: Google Images

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said: "Devastating news for this young man’s family, friends and the local community.  My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."

Dozens of people have taken to social media to pay tribute to Mr O'Hanlon.

One wrote: "I remember him from my old job. He was such a lovely lad, always great craic. He'll be sorely missed."

Another wrote: "Shocking news on the death of Niall, Great Wee Man with a Massive Heart, Always put a smile on your face if you were lucky enough to meet him, Thoughts and Prayers with His Family and Friends, RIP Niall"

Police are appealing for anyone with dash cam footage, or anyone with any information about the incident, to call 101.

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