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Ireland midfielder James McClean wears number five jersey in honour of late Derry City captain Ryan McBride

Republic of Ireland midfielder James McClean is honouring the late Derry City captain Ryan McBride by wearing the number five jersey for the clash against Wales.

The 27 year old captain was found dead at home last Sunday, having just led his team to a 4-0 victory over Drogheda.

McClean currently plays for West Brom but previously played for Derry City FC and became friends with the late skipper.

It's understood he was excused from training duties to attend the funeral  on Thursday.

He previously paid a moving tribute to his friend on Instagram.

"Tonight we lost someone I had to the privilege to play along aside but also got on well with off the field, a warrior that literally would throw his body on the line when he pulled on that Derry City jersey, a club that meant so much to him, but more importantly a big gentleman off the field.. sleep tight big man may god bless you and your family #5 #townilovedsowell."

On Thursday hundreds wearing Derry City jerseys and scarves lined the streets of their captain's home city as he was carried to church.

Behind the coffin, his father Lexie, wearing his son's training jacket, sisters Colleen, Siuinin and Caitlin, and his partner Mairead clung to each other as the cortege weaved its way through the Brandywell and into the Bogside.

Mourners - including Irish President Michael D Higgins - packed the tiny church which overlooks the stadium and Ryan's family home just outside the football grounds.

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels paid an emotional and tearful tribute to his young captain, reading a poem from the altar, before breaking down. "Ryan, we love you with all our heart, he told mourners through tears. In your absence we will still play the game, but in your absence it won't be the same."

Earlier in the week, as the news of his death sunk in, his heartbroken team-mates paid an emotional tribute to their leader. Friend and striker Ronan Curtis said he knew his captain would be looking down on the team and that they would continue to make him proud on the pitch.

Ryan was laid to rest wearing his club kit beside his mother Noreen in the city cemetery on the hillside overlooking the Brandywell, the field of dreams for the boy who became a Derry City legend.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph