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Tributes pour in for young Co Armagh father-of-two Neil McKinley

The 41-year-old passed away in hospital on Wendesday

Tributes have poured in for a young Co Armagh man who lost his battle with cancer this week.

Father-of-two Neil McKinley, from Lurgan, valiantly fought leukaemia but sadly passed away in hospital on Wednesday.

Leading the tributes was his former football team, Hill Street FC, who described the 41-year-old as a “warrior”.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the club said: “Hill Street FC are deeply saddened with the passing of former player Neil ‘Skinner’ McKinley.

“A warrior both on and off the pitch. Our hearts go out to his wife Denise, daughters Taylor and Hayden and the surrounding family.

“With his infectious smile and big personality he was always the life and soul of the dressing room.

“Skinner will be sorely missed by all at the club and indeed the Lurgan area. The wee man with the big heart. A legend and brother.

“Show the big man your Junior Cup medal. Rest easy wee man.”

Others paid their own tributes under the club’s post.

One man said: “Wee skinner, one of the nicest lads you could wish to meet, always had time for a chat, he was one of the most positive people I have ever come across, i’m sure his family and friends will be suffering and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.”

Another added: “Deeply saddened to hear this. His smile would melt snow such a beautiful person. My deepest sympathy to his family and all at his beloved Hill Street. God bless you my friend.”

One woman said: “Was a neighbour of mine for a long time in Wakehurst. An amazing fella to no. We were in and out of each others houses and played along with him. So sad to hear about Neil. Thoughts and prayers to all his family xx.”

Other local club’s paid their respect.

“One of life’s good guys a true gentleman, sympathies to Denise the girls and to all at Hill street, from myself and all at Tandragee Rovers.”

A member of St Mary’s YCFC posted: “Thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time. Sincere condolences from everyone associated with St. Mary’s YCFC Rest in Peace ‘Skinner’.”

Neil’s funeral will take place on Saturday at 2pm from the Emanuel Church, Castle Lane, Lurgan.

A wake will be held at Malcomsons Funeral Home in Lurgan from 3pm to 5pm today (Friday).

Deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife Denise, daughters Taylor and Hayden, and whole family circle.

Donations if desired may be made for Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI c/o Malcomsons Funeral Service 7 Robert Street Lurgan BT66 8BE.

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