Robbie Keane dedicates LA Galaxy goal to late Ireland supporter
Monday 25 June 2012
The Republic of Ireland captain and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane paid tribute to the family of the Ireland fan James Nolan after scoring a goal in the Galaxy's 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Nolan, 21, of Blessington, County Wicklow, who was in Poland to follow Keane and the Ireland team during the European Championships went missing last Sunday and his body was found on Wednesday in a canal in Northern Poland after an apparent accidental drowning.
Keane's tribute came after his goal in the 30th minute as he ran toward the club's bench where he was handed a Galaxy shirt that read "RIP James Nolan" on the back. For the 31-year-old Irish captain, who has made 120 appearances with Ireland, scoring 53 goals, the gesture was important for his grieving nation.
"It was a young Irish fan who went to Poland, 21 years of age, and unfortunately drowned. Obviously, the whole country was sad and I called his father today to send my condolences and to say that my thoughts were with him and the family," said Keane, who intends to send the jersey to Nolan's family in Ireland.
"It was just a gesture because the Irish people are very close and they stick with each other through good times and bad times. He was a big, big soccer fan and it was a shame, so it was just a show of respect really."
Queen's Park Rangers, meanwhile, said in a statement that the Premier League club were "deeply saddened" by the death on Saturday of the former Northern Ireland captain Alan McDonald. He was 48.
McDonald, who managed Glentoran when they won the Irish League championship in 2009, collapsed while playing golf on Saturday morning.
A QPR statement said: "The club would like to extend its deepest condolences to Alan's family and friends at this sad time. May he rest in peace."
McDonald's close friend and former team-mate Sammy McIlroy said he was stunned to hear of McDonald's death. McIlroy, who captained the World Cup team, said: "I'm shell-shocked. Words can't even enter my head at the moment. Forty-eight is so young. Alan was always larger than life – during his career and after."
An Irish Football Association spokesman said: "We are deeply shocked at the death of Alan. To die at such a young age is terrible."
A short statement on the association's website added: "The Irish FA are saddened by this morning's news of the sudden death of Alan McDonald. Our thoughts are with his family at this time." The statement described McDonald as "a true gentleman and Northern Ireland legend".
The Belfast-born centre-half made more than 400 appearances for QPR between 1981 and 1997, before ending his playing career at Swindon Town the next year. He famously played in the Northern Ireland team which drew 0-0 against England in 1985 to qualify for the World Cup finals in Mexico, in which he played against Spain, Brazil and Algeria. He won 52 international caps, scoring three goals.
McDonald went on to manage Glentoran, winning the Irish League title in 2009. He also coached his country's Under-21 side.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians