Derry News sports editor Gary Ferry, who has covered Ryan McBride’s brilliant career with Derry City, reflects on the impact that his death will have on the club

Club captain Ryan McBride’s sudden death has devastated the club once again, the sheer shock of it an enormous blow to those who follow the club week in and week out.

At only 27 years of age, Ryan was stronger and fitter than he had ever been at the club, growing into the role of club captain and leader both figuratively and literally in the past three years.

His passion on the pitch, his unyielding drive to win the ball, be it in the air or on the ground, and often to his own personal cost, will be forever remembered, a player who gave everything for the shirt he wore.

How many times did we see Ryan get hurt in the line of duty, only to get right back up again and play as if nothing had happened?

Just last week he played against Dundalk, and despite being ill, picked himself up off the grass at Maginn Park and went up for a corner, and scored the goal which sealed Derry City’s first win over Dundalk in almost four years.

His performance prompted the following words from Kenny Shiels: “No other player on this planet would have played that game, only Ryan McBride.”

That was the spirit of McBride that he was known for and which he was loved for.

To say he led by example is an understatement.

He led this team, this young group of players and he did so knowing full well the weight of responsibility of the captain’s armband on his shoulders.

Who could ever forget the tackle at Turner’s Cross?

Two Cork City players were left lying in a heap by one tackle and he just got up and got on with it.

The referee didn’t even see the challenge but when he looked around and saw two Cork players writhing in agony he decided that something must have happened to warrant a yellow card.

There has never been nor will there ever be another tackle like it.

Derry City fans sang and will continue to sing ‘Ryan McBride - He’ll pour you a pint and he’ll break your leg.’

It is a song completely tongue-in-cheek, but it showed the adoration they had for their captain and a player who they knew would run through a brick wall for them if he needed to.

When he scored against Shamrock Rovers recently, he didn’t thank me for reminding him that it was his first goal in 18 months, but the joy on his face when he volleyed the ball into the Tallaght net, and in his memorable celebration showed what it meant to him.

He was at it again just three days later against Dundalk, and even though he said he preferred a clean sheet over a goal, the joy on his face was there for all to see.

Ryan McBride was born to play for Derry City.

From the Brandywell, he grew up to wear the red and white stripes, walking home after games, just a stone’s throw away from the ground.

He arrived under Stephen Kenny, grew under Declan Devine and he thrived under Peter Hutton.

He became a leader under Kenny Shiels, all the while assuming the role of captain on and off the pitch.

Ryan McBride was, is, a legend.

Never again will a player pull on the Derry City shirt who gave it so much, so passionately and so thoroughly.

It is a devastating loss to all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him, of cheering him, and of believing in him.

A true leader of a football club.

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