Northern Ireland fans stood united in tribute to late Derry City skipper Ryan McBride at a packed Windsor Park last night.
Ahead of their 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Norway, 18,000 supporters took part in a minute’s applause to remember the Brandywell star who was found dead at home last week.
“He was known by our manager, our players, and by many people connected with the Irish Football Association. Please join us now in standing for one minute’s applause in tribute to the late Ryan McBride,” stadium announcer Pete Snodden told the Belfast crowd.
The Candy Stripes were left stunned at the news of the the 27-year-old’s tragic death two Sundays ago. Ryan had led his team to victory against Drogheda United, just 24 hours earlier.
His funeral took place at St Columba’s Church Long Tower on Thursday (March 23).
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill was Shamrock Rovers Manager when he watched McBride make his debut for Derry City in 2011.
“When I first saw him play, I remember thinking, what a fantastic young defender,” O’Neill said last week.
“He was strong, physical and hugely committed. His leadership qualities were evident even at such a young age and it was no surprise to me that he became such an inspirational player for his hometown club.
“I was deeply saddened when I heard the news that Ryan had died.”
On Friday evening fans at the Aviva Stadium paid tribute to McBride, with visiting captain Ashley Williams presenting Irish president Michael D. Higgins with a Welsh jersey bearing McBride’s name.
Ireland winger James McClean, a former team-mate of McBride’s at Derry City, wore the number 5 shirt in the 0-0 draw.