Northern Ireland news

Talented footballer killed in Co Armagh crash 'made such a positive impact on so many people's lives'

Niall O'Hanlon died after being struck by a car in Magheralin

THE funeral of a talented footballer described as someone who "made such a positive impact on so many people's lives" will take place in Co Down tomorrow.

Family and friends will gather in Magheralin, near Lurgan, to say their final farewells to Niall O'Hanlon, who tragically lost his life after being struck by a car.

The 25-year-old, who was regarded by his football club as their "wing wizard", was hit by the car on New Forge Road, close to his family home in Magheralin, on Friday night.

Mr O'Hanlon played for St Michael's Gaelic Football Club as a young boy and was one of the first players to sign for Magheralin Football Club when it was founded last year.

A dedicated Liverpool FC fan, a number of the team football jerseys with tributes adorning them have been left at the scene of the crash alongside numerous floral tributes.

In an emotional post on Facebook, Magheralin FC described Mr O'Hanlon as the "the apple of our club’s eye".

"It’s been said that only the good die young but it doesn’t ease the pain," it said.

"He was our wing wizard. The heartbeat of our team. Niall always a joke to crack, a laugh to roar out and a smile to give.

"His infectious bubbly personality was the reason why everyone who knew him considered him a friend.

"It’s hard tonight knowing that Niall has been taken from us far too soon. You’ll never walk alone wee man. Love you."

St Michaels GAC, Magheralin said Mr O'Hanlon was "such a great lad taken from us far too soon".

"A tragic loss of a young life," it said.

"Niall was a former youth player at the club. The thoughts and prayers of the club and community are with his family at this very sad time."

Tributes left on New Forge Road in Magheralin, Co. Down, where 25-year-old Niall O'Hanlon was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on Friday night. Picture by Ann McManus.

Dozens of tributes have been posted on social media, with one close friend describing how she will be "forever thankful for the time I got to spend with Niall, and for all the amazing memories we made".

"You made such a positive impact on so many people's lives - especially mine, and I just hope you knew how much happiness you brought to everyone and how much you are loved and forever will be," she said.

"You were the heart and soul of Magheralin and I just can't see there being a day where I will understand why this happened."

Another pal added: "Niall you were a legend brightening up every room you entered. Will miss you my friend."

Requiem Mass for Mr O'Hanlon will be celebrated at the Church of St Patrick and Ronan's, Magheralin at 1.30pm tomorrow followed by interment in St Colman's Cemetery, Lurgan.

He is survived by his parents Phelim and Stephanie and sister Shauneen.

Flowers and tributes left on New Forge Road in Magheralin, Co. Down, where 25-year-old Niall O'Hanlon was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on Friday night..

Flowers and tributes left on New Forge Road in Magheralin, Co. Down, where 25-year-old Niall O'Hanlon was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on Friday night. Picture by Ann McManus.

Tributes left on New Forge Road in Magheralin, Co. Down, where 25-year-old Niall O'Hanlon was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on Friday night. Picture by Ann McManus.

Tributes left on New Forge Road in Magheralin, Co. Down, where 25-year-old Niall O'Hanlon was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on Friday night. Picture by Ann McManus.

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