Niall McGinn dedicates Northern Ireland goal to devastated Donaghmore

DONAGHMORE footballing hero Niall McGinn has dedicated his debut international goal at Windsor Park to his community in mourning.

The former Dungannon Swifts winger spoke of his pain at the tragic deaths of three teenagers in Cookstown on St Patrick's night and admitted it has hit everyone in Donaghmore.

Lauren Bullock, 17, Connor Currie, 16, and Morgan Barnard, 17, who died in the tragedy, went to school in Dungannon.

McGinn, who scored first in Northern Ireland's 2-0 victory in the Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday, dedicated his goal to his devastated community. 

The Aberdeen player, whose sister was a neighbour of Lauren, said: “I was devastated when I heard the news. It was in the back of my mind to do well in the game against Estonia and score a goal and thankfully I did that.

“The little girl only lives two doors down from my sister and it is so, so sad what happened. My sister was down at the house the other day and my mum has been along as well. I saw the remains coming home and it has been a desperate time for all the families involved.

“I have spoken to a lot of people and everyone in Donaghmore is devastated, and if me doing well and scoring a goal on the international stage can bring any sort of shed of light to the local community that is good.

“It was an important goal for Northern Ireland, but it was for my local community as well.”

He added: “A lot of people back home will look up to you. I came from a GAA background and have gone on to have a successful career as a footballer and playing for Northern Ireland and I’m proud to represent Donaghmore and my local community.”

A minute silence was held prior to kick-off to mark the three young people killed on St Patrick's night in Cookstown, the three lives lost from Bryansford GAA Club in Co Down, and the victims of the New Zealand terror attack.

The 18.176 strong crowd honoured the silence immaculately and players from both teams wore black armbands to remember the terrible events.

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