Victim of fatal crash remembered as 'legend'

​​Amateur footballers in Newry were among those paying tribute to former player and coach Gary ‘Cookie’ McLoughlin at his funeral service in the city on Thursday.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

​Mr McLoughlin, who had associations with several clubs, died after being struck by a vehicle on the Forkhill Road in Newry on Saturday night.

Police said the incident occurred around 10.40pm.

It is understood he was a pedestrian and was struck by a vehicle.

Gary 'Cookie' McLoughlin. Pic: Linfield FCGary 'Cookie' McLoughlin. Pic: Linfield FC
Gary 'Cookie' McLoughlin. Pic: Linfield FC
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It comes as five people tragically lost their lives on roads in Northern Ireland over the same weekend.

Mr McLoughlin was aged in his 40s and lived at Mill Meadows in Bessbrook.

The football fanatic and keen Manchester United supporter, was laid to rest following a funeral service at St Brigid’s Church on Thursday.

His cortège was greeted at the church by local football clubs, such was his devotion to the sport.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His son Matthew led the tributes at the requiem mass at St Brigid’s Church, reflecting on his relationship with his dad, one that was unbreakable in life and death.

In an emotional address, he described his dad as his “best friend,” and said: “There is so much I am going to miss.”

“You always taught me to be the best version of myself and always do what I want to do in life, not what others tell me to do”, he said.

“I will do my best to be as good as you, you absolute legend.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mourners also heard that Gary and Matthew’s love for each other “created a bond that can never be broken”.

A death notice described Mr McLoughlin as "a devoted father, much loved son, and treasured brother".

Following news of the road tragedy, Newry side Ashgrove Rovers paid an online tribute to a player they described as a “club legend.”

In a Facebook post, they said: “As a club we are devastated to hear about the passing of former player Gary ‘Cookie’ McLoughlin.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Cookie was with us for six seasons over two spells and helped the club win its first trophy with him opening the scoring in the cup final.

“He definitely will go down as a club legend as you always knew when he was around you were guaranteed a laugh and good time.”

Mr McLoughlin also coached Dungannon Swifts' under 16's team last season, with the club passing on their condolences to his friends and family.

In a post, they said: "As a club we would like to pass on our condolences to the McLoughlin family after the sudden passing of Gary.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Gary helped out with our U16 team last season and everyone at the club would like to offer their prayers and support at this time to the wider family circle."

Mr McLoughlin was buried at Monks Hill cemetery in the city following the funeral service.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: "Enquiries into the collision are ongoing, and officers from the Collision Investigation Unit would appeal to anyone who was travelling in the area at the time of the collision, or who has any dash cam or mobile phone footage, to contact them at Sprucefield on 101, quoting reference number 1661 23/03/24."

Related topics: