DERRY CITY: ‘Ryan McBride is irreplaceable’ - Kenny Shiels

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels.

Derry City manager Kenny Shiels.

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Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has described Ryan McBride as irreplaceable.

Shiels, who met with his first team squad and back room team on Monday morning, admitted everyone at the club has been left in a state of shock.

“I think it’s important that we stick together as a club, because of the enormity of our loss. Ryan is irreplaceable,” said Shiels.

“When you lose your captain and your leader, the void that is left behind is insurmountable. To replace that is impossible, it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

“We are all numb with shock. We don’t realise it has actually happened, you can’t believe that it has actually happened.

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet and I was in the room today and the players weren’t there and it’s hard to take, but our hearts are with Ryan’s family.”

The City manager, who visited the 27-year-old’s family hours after the tragic death, said his thoughts are with Ryan’s father Lexie and his sisters Colleen, Siuinin and Caitlin as well as his partner, Mairead.

“It’s going to really hard for his father and family. Ryan lost his mother to cancer seven years ago and then he passes away himself, it’s incredibly hard on Lexie and everyone connected to the family.”

Shiels has had to overcome tragedy of a similar kind twice before, first in March 2012 when managing Kilmarnock and just last year when Josh Daniels lost five members of his family in the Buncrana incident.

“The eerie thing for me is that the third Sunday in March, five years ago, Liam Kelly’s father dropped dead behind the dug-out in the last minute of the Scottish League Cup Final when we played Celtic.

“Then, the third Sunday in March last year, wee Josh went through that terrible tragedy and now the third Sunday in March has brought this. It is heartbreaking.”