| 13.3°C Belfast

Derry player Daniels who lost five loved ones in Buncrana pier tragedy returns to pitch

Close

Derry City winger Josh Daniels

Derry City winger Josh Daniels

Lorcan Doherty

Derry City winger Josh Daniels

The young professional football player who lost five members of his family in the Buncrana pier tragedy has returned to the pitch.

Derry City winger Josh Daniels came on as a substitute against Sligo Rovers at The Brandywell last night and was given a rousing reception by fans. Derry won the game 2-0.

The 20-year-old lost his mother Ruth (57); younger sister Jodi-Lee (14); brother-in-law Sean McGrotty (46), and nephews Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan in the tragedy on Sunday, March 20.

They died when their car slipped off the pier into deep water. They had gone to Buncrana in Co Donegal for a family outing and stopped on the pier to watch the sunset. The only survivor was four-month-old baby girl Rioghnach-Ann.

She was rescued by Davitt Walsh, who swam out to the car in the freezing waters and managed to get hold of her after her father pleaded "save the baby" and handed her out the window seconds before the vehicle became submerged.

Mr Walsh, who is a former League of Ireland striker, then managed to bring her to shore . He has been widely praised for his heroism.

The children's mother Louise James was away when the accident happened.

She has subsequently said the only reason she could go on was because of the survival of Rioghnach-Ann.

Close

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

Louise McGrotty with baby Rioghnach-Ann, who survived the tragedy, and son Evan (8), who lost his life

Louise McGrotty with baby Rioghnach-Ann, who survived the tragedy, and son Evan (8), who lost his life

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Sean McGrotty

Sean McGrotty

Proud granny Ruth Daniels gives Mark and Evan McGrotty a hug

Proud granny Ruth Daniels gives Mark and Evan McGrotty a hug

Sean McGrotty (49) with son Mark (12)

Sean McGrotty (49) with son Mark (12)

Ruth Daniels (59) with daughter Jodi-Lee (14)

Ruth Daniels (59) with daughter Jodi-Lee (14)

Sean McGrotty and his two sons Evan and Mark died at the scene. His partner Louise wasn’t present at the time of the tragedy, but her baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom she is cradling here, was rescued

Sean McGrotty and his two sons Evan and Mark died at the scene. His partner Louise wasn’t present at the time of the tragedy, but her baby Rioghnach-Ann, whom she is cradling here, was rescued

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Jodi-Lee playing with nephew Evan

Jodi-Lee playing with nephew Evan

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

Remains of the five members of the same family who drowned at Buncrana pier are taken to the family home on Tuesday morning. Photo: Joe Boland / Press Eye

The family’s Q7 which slid into Lough Swilly

The family’s Q7 which slid into Lough Swilly

Buncrana pier tragedy: Former Ballymena United footballer Davitt Walsh heroically dived into the water and saved baby. Image: RTE News

Buncrana pier tragedy: Former Ballymena United footballer Davitt Walsh heroically dived into the water and saved baby. Image: RTE News

Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan.

Mark (12) and eight-year-old Evan.

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Sean McGrotty

Sean McGrotty

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

Ruth Daniels

Ruth Daniels

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels.

Jodie Lee Daniels.

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

The scene at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie-Lee Daniels.

Jodie-Lee Daniels.

Photopress Belfast

Martin McGuinness at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Martin McGuinness at the pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Photopress Belfast

Garda Superintendent Colm Nevin speaks to the media.
 Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Garda Superintendent Colm Nevin speaks to the media. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

John McCarthy from the RNLI at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

John McCarthy from the RNLI at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Flowers left  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Flowers left at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Flowers left  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Flowers left at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jodie Lee Daniels

Jodie Lee Daniels

Photopress Belfast

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Garda at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier.  Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Garda at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Presseye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm,  at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Joe Bolan / Press Eye

Francis Crawford Who raised the alarm, at the Scene at the Pier in Buncrana Co Donegal, after Five people, including children, have died after a car went off a pier. Picture Joe Bolan / Press Eye

Tributes left at the scene of the tragedy. Picture Colm Lenaghan/  Pacemaker

Tributes left at the scene of the tragedy. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Emergency services on the pier at Buncrana after yesterday’s tragic accident

Emergency services on the pier at Buncrana after yesterday’s tragic accident

Rescue services at the pier in Buncrana where a family of five perished after their car slide into Loch Swilly

Rescue services at the pier in Buncrana where a family of five perished after their car slide into Loch Swilly

The pier in daylight

The pier in daylight

Algae on the slipway which would have made it difficult for the vehicle to get any traction

Algae on the slipway which would have made it difficult for the vehicle to get any traction

An Audi Q7 like the one in which the family got trapped

An Audi Q7 like the one in which the family got trapped

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his father Sean McGrotty (49), 12-year-old brother Mark, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a "slippery as ice" slipway in Buncrana in March 2016.

Belfast Telegraph