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Shamrocks to honour Devlin with new pitch


Aaron Devlin

Aaron Devlin

?INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritcha

Aaron Devlin

Ballinderry Shamrocks will name their new 4G pitch after their former player Aaron Devlin, who was remembered at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony.

Devlin was only 23 when he contracted an aggressive strain of meningitis last July. After a short battle, he passed away. During Sunday night's event at the SSE Arena in Belfast, his picture and name flashed up in a montage of sporting figures who have died in 2015.

In recent times, Devlin's family launched a jersey in his memory, with profits going to a meningitis research charity. At present, sales are almost up to 1,400.

Club chairman Stephen McGeehan revealed they have big plans to honour the name of their former county player and clubman. He said: "From the club's point of view we want a long lasting legacy for him. We are going to dedicate a new part of our facility to his memory.

"It is going to be very much focused on youth and youth development.

"Aaron is always going to be young. He is never going to go past 23 and we think he is going to be a good inspiration for our young camogs and footballers."

McGeehan had been aware that Devlin was going to be remembered, through BBC NI's Thomas Niblock.

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"It was a lovely touch and gesture. It was a brilliant event for everybody that loves sport," he recalled.

"Aaron's name, his photograph and his memory associated with it was very, very special.

"I know from social media that it lifted everybody's spirits in Ballinderry. In a sort of a sad way as well. You would prefer to see him still playing, but to be remembered in illustrious company was fantastic."

The naming ceremony in Ballinderry is on schedule to take place in May 2016.