Footballer who died suddenly will be laid to rest in colours of favourite teams

James Moore pictured outside Windsor Park hours before he died. Picture by Conor McCaughley.
Connla Young

A WELL-known west Belfast footballer who died suddenly will be laid to rest in the colours of his favourite teams.

It is understood James Moore was found dead in a house at Locan Street in the Beechmout area of west Belfast on Friday.

The 24-year-old, who was engaged to me married, had played for several Irish League clubs including Cliftonville, Donegal Celtic, Linfield and Larne.

His death sparked an outpouring of grief on social media over the weekend.

Mr Moore was the captain of Belfast based club Willowbank YC/FC, where he also helped coach youth squads.

Club secretary Jim Kettle last night revealed he will be buried in his Willowbank tracksuit and a Celtic top this week.

"He was a big figure. It's a massive, massive hole felt in the whole community and club. The kids and community are broken hearted," he said.

"He was the heart and soul, he never had a bad word to say about anybody."

James Moore tweeted a picture of himself with friends in west Belfast hours before he died last Friday

Mr Kettle said his former club mate helped his team to a spectacular treble last year and also helped coach youth teams.

"He was a role model to young people," he said.

Mr Kettle said Mr Moore was committed to his club.

"He could have gone anywhere but he wanted to play football for his local team,” he said.

“He was always wanted. He had trials across the water and they asked him back. He was just happier playing football and coaching the kids."

Hours before his death the popular soccer player had tried to gain access to Windsor Park to see Celtic take on Linfield in a Champions League qualifier. Dressed in an Antrim GAA jersey, he was pictured speaking to a steward outside the ground.

Earlier, Mr Moore had tweeted a picture of himself and several friends standing outside a west Belfast bar with the words "Belfast is green and white".

In a statement, a spokesman for Cliftonville said the club was "deeply saddened".

"Everyone at Cliftonville FC extends sincere sympathies to the Moore family circle, as well as his friends and former team mates at this very difficult time," he said.

A spokesman for Larne said Mr Moore was a "gentleman who had time for anyone and it was a pleasure to have him represent our club".

Former Northern Ireland international Sammy Clingan used Twitter to voice his shock.

"Absolutely gutted to wake up and read the news that my wee mate @jamesyboy1967 has passed away. Can't believe it. Such a gentleman. RIP."

Boxer Michael Conlan also paid his own tribute on Facebook.

"Just heard the news about an old friend James Moore, absolutely gutted. RIP. Jamesy lad, gone way too soon.

"Whatever your problems are, please speak to someone anyone. It's OK to talk. Thoughts and prayers with the whole Moore family and everyone who knew James what a lovely person he was. "

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said there were "no suspicious circumstances" surrounding Mr Moore's death.

His Requiem Mass will take place at St Paul's Church, Belfast, on Tuesday at 1pm.

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