Derry City and Dundalk's heartwarming gesture to family of late Irish peacekeeper Seán Rooney

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DERRY CITY Football Club and rivals Dundalk made a heart-warming presentation to the family of late Candy Stripes fan, Private Seán Rooney prior to kick-off at Brandywell on Friday night.

The 24 year-old former St Eunan's Letterkenny student was killed in an ambush in south Lebanon on December 14th last year while on a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

He was serving with the Irish contingent of the 121st Infantry Battalion of the UN Interim Force when he tragically died after the armoured car he was driving came under fire.

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Pte Rooney lived in Dundalk before later moving to Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal and he was a familiar face at Brandywell on matchdays.

He had an affiliation to both clubs and his family, including his heartbroken mother Natasha and his fiancee Holly McConnellogue, from Derry, were presented with a commemorative Dundalk jersey with 'Rooney 24' on the back and a framed, signed Derry City jersey.

Dundalk chairman Sean O'Connor, Derry City chairman Philip O'Doherty, managers Stephen O'Donnell and Ruaidhri Higgins made the touching presentation of the jerseys to the bereaved family members in front of the Mark Farren Stand before the scoreless draw on Friday night.

It was a touching tribute for the man described as ‘a national hero’. On the day of his funeral, Derry defender Mark Connolly, who met him on one of his visits to Brandywell last season, tweeted: “Today is the funeral of Private Seán Rooney. Seán was a Derry City fan and I had the privilege of meeting him. I’d like to send my condolences to all his family and friends at this sad time. RIP Private Seán Rooney, Irish hero.”