‘Niall was the heart and soul of our village’

Niall O'Hanlon.
Niall O'Hanlon.

Friends of Niall O’Hanlon, the young man killed in a road traffic collision in Magheralin last night, have said the whole village has been left devastated by the news of his tragic death.

The 25-year-old, who lived in the village and played for Magheralin Village FC, died after being struck by a car on New Forge Road, close to the Steps Road junction at around 10:30pm.

News of Niall’s tragic passing was posted on the football club’s Facebook page along with a tribute to their “best friend”.

The post said: “Last night our wing wizard and best friend was tragically taken from us. He was the heart and soul of our wee football club and village. He will be sorely missed.

“We love you Niall. Rest in peace.

“Thoughts and prayers are with Niall’s family and friends at this time.”

The post concluded with lyrics from the famous football anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Speaking to the Lurgan Mail, Magheralin Village FC secretary Billy Fyffe said Niall was a talented footballer who was one of the first players to sign for the club when it was founded last year.

“The boys are in bits. The whole community has just been devastated by this,” he said.

“Niall really was our best friend. He was the heart and soul of the village and our football team. He was just such a genuinely lovely guy and no one had a bad word to say about him. He was everyone’s friend and everyone loved him.

“His family, friends and the whole community are just devastated by what’s happened. We can’t believe he’s gone.”

Reacting to the club’s Facebook post, dozens of people posted their own personal tributes to Niall.

One wrote: “Lost for words. Niall you were a legend brightening up every room you entered. Will miss you my friend. My thoughts and prayers are with all your family and team mates.”

Another added: “RIP Niall. What a lovely young man he was, taken far too soon. His mum and dad should be so proud of him. Thoughts with his family and friends. Heartbroken for them all.”

A number of local political representatives have also expressed shock and sadness at the news of the tragic incident.

“This is extremely sad and my thoughts and prayers are with this young man’s family and friends at this time. This is a terrible thing for any family to have to go through,” said DUP Cllr Philip Moutray.

“The loss of a young life in such circumstances is tragic. My thoughts are with his family and friends,” Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart added.

The UUP’s Doug Beattie tweeted: “Awful news for his family & friends. My thoughts are with them at this sad time.”

Police officers investigating the circumstances surrounding Niall’s death have appealed fore anyone who witnessed the collision to contact them on 101 quoting reference 1456 11/05/18.