Northern Ireland players pay tribute to fan who died in Nice

24-year-old Darren Rodgers tragically lost his life after falling from a promenade just hours after his team lost their opener against Poland.

Northern Ireland players pay tribute to fan who died in Nice
The Northern Ireland support were in fine voice on Sunday. | Image credit: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Northern Ireland’s players and staff have paid their tributes to a fan who passed away in the early hours of Monday morning.

Despite losing their opening game of Euro 2016 to Poland 1-0, many Northern Irish football fans continued to enjoy the atmosphere in the south of France.

However, the mood amongst the travelling contingent has suddenly nose-dived with the news that a young fan has lost his life.

Devastating news for all concerned

Falling 26 feet from a wall along the Promenade des Anglais, Mr Rodgers, from Ballymena, suffered severe head injuries and later died in a French hospital despite their best efforts to save him. It has been reported that he was alone at the time of the incident, which is being treated at as a tragic accident rather than a suspicious event.

The Northern Ireland team will wear black armbands to mark their respect in Thursday’s game against Ukraine in Lyon. Furthermore, the Irish Football Association have requested to UEFA that a minute’s silence is held prior to kick-off.

Nelson, Foster and the players pay their respects

In a statement from the IFA, chief executive Patrick Nelson said: “On behalf of the board, management, players and staff, I would like to express my deep sadness at the tragic death of a Northern Ireland supporter in Nice in the early hours of this morning."

He continued, explaining: "The thoughts of everyone at the Association are with family and friends at this time.”

Northern Ireland fans pay tribute to their fellow supporter. | Image source: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Northern Ireland fans pay tribute to their fellow supporter. | Image source: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the country’s first minister, Arlene Foster has also expressed her condolences to the family of Mr Rodgers, saying: “It comes as a terrible shock. A young man going out there to have the trip of a lifetime and to be told that this happened. It is just really shocking.”

Captain Steven Davis and players Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty offered their condolences on Twitter.