Belfast Telegraph

Star James McClean leads moving Aviva tributes to tragic Ryan McBride

By Adrian Rutherford

An emotional James McClean said he will donate the shirt he wore in tribute to Ryan McBride to the tragic Derry City star's grieving family.

The Republic of Ireland footballer wore Ryan's number five during last night's World Cup qualifier with Wales.

The 27-year-old passed away last Sunday, hours after leading his hometown club to a 4-0 win.

Ahead of kick-off in Dublin fans staged a poignant tribute.

Welsh captain Ashley Williams presented a Wales top bearing Ryan's name and number to Irish president Michael D Higgins.

A period of applause was also held inside the Aviva Stadium before the game got underway, and again in the fifth minute. Fans held aloft banners paying tribute to Ryan and also Mark Farren, Derry City's record scorer, who passed away last year after a battle with cancer.

It was an especially poignant night for Derry-born McClean, who was also named man of the match.

He later pledged to donate his jersey to the McBride family.

"If the family want it I think I should give it to them. I think it might be a nice touch," he said.

"I can't imagine the pain they are going through and my thoughts are with them."

Ryan made his debut for Derry in 2011 and was appointed captain in 2015.

The cause of his death is still unknown.

McClean also paid tribute to former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"It has been a very tough week for the town of Derry and a very tough week for myself personally," he added.

"Two great lads that I had two good relationships with passed away. Ryan obviously played with Derry City - I got to know him off the field as well. Martin was a huge figure in my life - more so in the last few years. I got to know him very well and had a good relationship with him. In the space of two days those two passing was very tough.

"Tonight I've had to put all my emotion into my performances and hopefully I did the two lads proud."

The game finished 0-0 but was marred by a horrific leg break suffered by Republic defender Seamus Coleman.

Belfast Telegraph


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