The players, management, office holders and supporters of Dungannon Swifts have expressed “devastation” after hugely popular fan Barrie Meneely was killed in a road traffic accident on Friday morning.
The 44-year-old died when his motorbike crashed at the junction of the Lissheffield Road and Red Lion Road at Loughgall around 10.35am. Dungannon Swifts described Mr Meneely, who was from the Moygashel area of Dungannon but lived in Lurgan, as “the life and soul of every game.”
An avid fan, just a few weeks ago he attended the League Cup final at Windsor Park when the Swifts won their first major Senior trophy after many years of following the club.
In tribute to Mr Meneely, the Dungannon club said, “His young son, Alfie, lead the Swifts team out on the pitch as mascot at the Bet McLean League Cup Final v Ballymena.
“It was an extremely proud moment for Barrie and his wife Emma watching their wee man beaming with pride. Barrie was the life and soul of every game as a supporter of DSFC.
“He enjoyed the banter with home and away fans and many people will recognise him even if they didn’t know him. It is utterly devastating news. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, especially to his wife Emma and three children, Alex, Charlotte and Alfie and to his father Johnny who attended all Swifts games with him, his mother Noeleen and sister Toni.”
Hundreds of messages of sympathy were posted on the Dungannon Swifts Facebook page over the weekend from players, supporters and administrators at the club.
Club stalwart and former team manager Joe McAree said, “It is so very, very sad. Barrie was such a really good young man and my sympathy goes to all the family circle.”
Police have appealed to anyone who was travelling on the Lissheffield Road around the time of the crash or drivers who have a dash cam to contact officers on 101.