My amaz­ing brother will be for­ever young

Sis­ter’s mov­ing farewell trib­ute as foot­baller (25) is buried in Liver­pool shirt

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY CATE McCURRY

THE sis­ter of a Co Down foot­baller who died af­ter be­ing hit by a car has paid trib­ute to her “amaz­ing” brother.

Niall O’Han­lon was de­scribed as the “heart of Magher­alin” by his dev­as­tated sis­ter Shauneen.

The 25-year-old was killed on Fri­day night just be­fore he was set to leave on a trip to Eng­land to watch his beloved Liver­pool FC.

He was struck by a Skoda Oc­tavia on the New Forge Road, close to the Steps Road junc­tion.

Hun­dreds of mourn­ers lined the streets of his home vil­lage as his fu­neral took place at St Pa­trick’s and Ro­nan’s Church.

The tal­ented sports­man was

buried in a Liver­pool top his fa­ther had bought him the day be­fore his tragic death.

Niall’s sis­ter Shauneen paid trib­ute to him hours be­fore his fu­neral.

She posted on so­cial me­dia: “Never did I think I would be say­ing good­bye to you this early Niall.

“You were and still are the most amaz­ing brother and you will al­ways be the heart of Magher­alin.

“You were al­ways so over­pro­tec­tive with me, but that is one out of many things that I loved about you.

“There was never a dull mo­ment and I am so blessed to have shared so many amaz­ing mem­o­ries with you and to be called your sis­ter,” she added.

“You are go­ing to get the best

send off to­day my love be­cause there’s no one that de­serves it more than you. “Can­not thank any­one enough for the support ev­ery­one has give me and my fam­ily.

“You will be for­ever young.”

His un­cle Michael Breen told the Liver­pool Echo that Niall was com­ing to the city to watch his favourite team play Brighton on Sun­day.

Mr Breen (67) said: “He was com­ing over to my house to go to An­field on Sun­day. The night be­fore his dad had bought him a new Liver­pool top to go to the match and he will be buried in that.”

The young lorry driver played for Magher­alin Vil­lage Foot­ball Club.

In a heart­felt trib­ute, the club said: “It’s been said that only the good die young but it doesn’t ease the pain.

“Niall was the ap­ple of our club’s eye. He was our wing wizard. The heart­beat of our team.

“Niall al­ways had a joke to crack, a laugh to roar out. His in­fec­tious bub­bly per­son­al­ity was the rea­son ev­ery­one who knew him con­sid­ered him a friend.”

A memo­rial ban­ner was un­veiled in his home vil­lage yes­ter­day be­fore his fu­neral.

The fu­neral cortege of Niall O’Han­lon (be­low right) which was flanked (top and above right) by the 25-year-old’s foot­ball team in Magher­alin yes­ter­day

PACE­MAKER

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