The Primate of All-Ireland has offered his condolences to the family and friends of Derry City skipper Ryan McBride following his death at the age of 27.
The defender is understood to have died suddenly at home on Sunday 19th March.
The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, offered his prayers for McBride’s loved ones in a tweet earlier this week.
‘Sad news from #Derry Praying for family of #ryanmcbride and for his many friends and supporters who will miss him. Lord have mercy. RIP,’ he wrote on the social media site.
Meanwhile, former close teammate and Republic of Ireland international James McClean said McBride was a warrior who would throw his body on the line.
Liverpool FC strikers Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore and the president of Ireland Michael D Higgins were among others expressing their condolences.
The fans’ favourite lived in a terrace house beside the club’s Brandywell ground where he has played since 2011.
His club said he would be remembered by teammates and supporters as one of the greats.
‘They are deeply shocked and will miss his inspiration and his leadership.’
Manager Kenny Shiels added: “Ryan never gave 99 per cent.”
A Derry City number five shirt was pinned outside the Brandywell gate in tribute. His image was painted as street art onto a nearby wall.
He leaves his “heartbroken” father Lexie, sisters Colleen, Siunin and Caitlain and partner Mairead. His mother Noreen died some time ago.
McBride was a firm favourite with fans thanks in part to his committed style of defending. He played more than 100 league matches for Derry.
His last match was a 4-0 triumph over Drogheda United in the League of Ireland Premier Division on Saturday, the top league in the Republic of Ireland.
The club’s SSE Airtricity Premier League game against Limerick last night (Tuesday 21st March) was postponed.
A funeral notice confirmed that his funeral would take place at St Columba’s Church in Derry on Thursday.
The funeral cortege is scheduled to leave McBride’s home at 9.20am for requiem mass at 10am, with interment to follow in the city cemetery.
Picture: A mural in Brandywell, Derry of Ryan McBride (far right). (Michael McHugh/PA).