Portadown tributes to Northern Ireland fan

A tribute to Darren Rodgers by Northern Ireland fans from Portadown.
A tribute to Darren Rodgers by Northern Ireland fans from Portadown.

Northern Ireland fans from Portadown have delivered a touching tribute to Darren Rodgers following the 25-year-old’s tragic death in France.

Police reports have stated the Ballymena man died after a fall of around 26 feet over a promenade barrier on to a hard pebble beach at around 2 o’clock on Monday morning.

Northern Ireland fans woke to news of the accident and numerous social media tributes were made in memory of Darren.

Members of the Northern Ireland team - including captain Steve Davis - offered words of comfort.

Gary Connolly from Portadown is part of the Green And White Army in Nice for Northern Ireland’s opening EURO 2016 game against Poland.

That 1-0 defeat marked his 63rd away match as a Northern Ireland fan and the circumstances of Darren’s death led to the tribute by Gary.

“It is a small gesture but I felt it was appropriate to do something this morning,” said Gary. “I put some hand-picked flowers at the site with a short note in tribute to Darren’s memory.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Darren’s family.”

The hand-written note reads: “One of our own. RIP. GAWA Family.XX”.

Members of the Portadown Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club have also paid tribute.

“It was with great sadness that we awoke this morning to news of the passing of fellow Northern Ireland fan Darren Rodgers,” read a club statement. “As fans we love to follow the team as part of the Green And White Army and I’m sure, like all of us, Darren was enjoying the experience of Northern Ireland’s first appearance at the European Championship finals.

“As we move from Nice to Lyon, Darren will be in our thoughts and, on behalf of the Portadown NISC, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this extremely sad time.”

It is understood that fans will stage a minute’s applause during Northern Ireland’s second EURO 2016 game against Ukraine.