Tributes flow for Waringstown cricketer 'gentleman' Paddy Allen following sudden death
Tributes have been paid to Paddy Allen one of the best known characters on the Northern Ireland cricket scene.
Waringstown Cricket Club announced the passing of the 35-year-old on Sunday. It described him as a popular player and loyal supporter of the club.
"Everyone at the club is devastated at the news of Paddy's passing. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time," the club said.
Mr Allen was well-known in horse racing circles and, as well as owning a farm, he operated Moira Cross Country and Schooling Gallops. He was also a former member of Lurgan Rugby Club, a supporter of Glenavon FC and Ulster Rugby.
Paddy had in recent years further developed the Moira Equestrian Centre into a five star training and gallop facility for local trainers while also running schooling days and the family supplying the venue for the Iveagh point to point.
Originally developed by his late father Jim who was well known in the sheep trade, his family had made a substantial investment in the complex which also hosted cross country events for equestrians.
Prior to joining forces with his father, Paddy was a sports journalist with a passion for rugby and also a longstanding member of Down Royal.
"It was always great fun to be in Paddy's company and he was a friend to all who knew him," said horse racing correspondent Ron McKnight.
Sunday's Irish Cup quarter-final tie between Instonians and Waringstown - which Paddy was due to commentate on - was postponed as a mark of respect.
Tributes flowed on social media for the popular figure.
Former Ulster and Ireland rugby player Tommy Bowe said he was shocked at the news.
"Was a pleasure to know Paddy, what a character he was! My thoughts go out to his family and friends," he tweeted.
Lurgan Rugby Club added: "The sporting world has lost an absolute gentleman."
Local MLA Carla Lockhart described the death as "devastating".
"A gentleman who will be sadly missed in the sporting fraternity," she tweeted.
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family circle and friends."
Glenavon Football Club also paid its respects.
"Paddy was an immensely popular figure at Mourneview Park and he will be sorely missed by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with Paddy's mother, family and friends at this difficult time."
Hearts footballer and former Glenavon player and Northern Ireland U21 international Bobby Burns said he was "gutted" to learn of the death.
"Paddy was a proper football man and a gentleman who had time for everyone. Rest in Peace Paddy," he tweeted.
At Carrick Cricket Club a minute's silence was held ahead of its game on Sunday.
Member and UUP MLA John Stewart offered his condolences to the family.
"Paddy was a real character on and off the field," he said.
Cricket Ireland and many clubs sent their condolences as too did officials at Down Royal Racecourse.
Paddy is survived by his mother Margaret.
Belfast Telegraph Digital