Northern Ireland news

Derry footballer Paddy McCourt misses Euros due to wife's brain tumour diagnosis

Footballer Paddy McCourt who married Laura Hegarty at Steelstown Catholic Church in Derry in 2011. Picture by Pacemaker. 
Seamus McKinney

NORTHERN Ireland international and former Celtic footballer Paddy McCourt has spoken of his wife's diagnosis with a brain tumour.

The 32-year-old revealed that he told manager Michael O'Neill he would not be available for the European Championships after learning that wife Laura had to undergo surgery earlier this month.

He told the Times newspaper: “When something like this happens, your only thought is for your family. My sole focus has been on Laura and the kids.”

McCourt said he left League Two side Luton Town by mutual consent to return to Derry after his wife suffered a seizure at Gatwick airport on their way back from a holiday abroad.

After two days of tests, doctors revealed they had found a brain tumour and needed to operate immediately.

The tumour was benign and following the operation on June 9, Laura was given the all clear.

McCourt said: “Thankfully we were given the best possible news afterwards which was that everything had been positive.

"Laura is now recovering and we’re told that in four to six months, please God, she will be completely back to normal.”

The 'Derry Pele', a crowd favourite when he played for Derry City, has scored twice in 18 international appearances for Northern Ireland.

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