Belfast Telegraph

Father pens emotional poem to Northern Ireland fan Darren Rodgers after tragic Euros death

'We only hoped you'd come back home. The same you'd went away'

By Claire Williamson

The father of a tragic Northern Ireland fan, who died in a fall at the Euros in France, has penned an emotional poem about him.

Darren Rodgers from Ballymena - known as Dar Dar by his friends - died in Nice after a fall from a promenade.

Just hours earlier the 24-year-old had watched Northern Ireland's opening game of the European Championships against Poland on June 12.

His death prompted an outpouring of emotion as hundreds of football fans left flags and scarves at the spot where the accident happened.

The players wore black armbands as a mark of respect at the game which followed against Ukraine and both sets of fans gave Darren a huge ovation in the 24th minute for his age.

Republic of Ireland supporters also paid tribute to Darren by singing Stand up for the Ulsterman in the 24th minute of their match against Sweden.

His father Paul, posted a poem on Facebook, saying that the 12 weeks since his death feels like 12 years.

He was reflecting as Northern Ireland began their next campaign in a bid to qualify for the World Cup.

"Twelve weeks today we lost our beautiful son, it seems like 12 years since we've seen him and looking back on where and why it happened I wrote this little poem, knowing he's not here to cheer on the green and white army as they start another campaign oh so hard", he said.

Darren was also a former player for Wakehurst FC and they too shared the poem on Facebook.

A poignant extract reads: "A lonely figure at your grave/Looks to the sky so blue/ there's not a single day goes by/I'll shed a tear for you.

"We only have you for a while/ before you went away/ We only hoped you'd come back home/ The same you'd went away."

A beautiful, poignant tribute to Darren Rodgers written by his father Paul. RIP Dar Dar 

Posted by Wakehurst Football Club on Monday, September 5, 2016

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