Irish fans in tribute to Northern Ireland supporter who died in fall
Irish football fans have paid tribute to the Northern Ireland supporter who fell to his death in Nice by applauding and singing in his memory.
Darren Rodgers, from Ballymena in Co Antrim, fell from a promenade on the French Riviera in the early hours of Monday.
During their team’s match against Sweden at the Stade de France in Paris, fans from the Republic stood up, clapped and sang “Stand up for the Ulstermen”.
They staged the tribute in the 24th minute as the popular amateur footballer was aged 24.
A tweet on the Northern Ireland team’s Twitter account said: “Thanks to the fans of @FAIreland who sang ‘stand up for the Ulstermen’ tonight in memory of Darren Rodgers #footballfamily.”
A similar tribute took place among fans watching the Republic’s game in Belfast, while a picture posted online of a memorial in Nice shows Northern Ireland flags alongside an Irish flag.
The Northern Ireland team is seeking a minute’s silence for Mr Rodgers ahead of Thursday’s game against Ukraine and players also want to wear black armbands in his memory.
Supporters are planning to stage a minute’s applause in the 24th minute of the European Championship fixture in Lyon.
Patrick Nelson, Irish Football Association chief executive, said: “The young lad came out to watch some games of football, part of a huge movement from Northern Ireland, a very joyous movement, and it’s a tragedy for his family and his friends.”
He supported fans’ efforts to have a minute’s applause.
“We’ll ask Uefa whether it’s appropriate to have a minute’s silence before the game and/or to wear black armbands.”