Aberdeen winger Niall McGinn dedicated his goal for Northern Ireland against Estonia to his community devastated by the deaths of three teenagers on St Patrick’s Day.
McGinn scored the opener in the 2-0 win and spoke of his shock at the deaths of Connor Currie, 16, Lauren Bullock, 17, and Morgan Barnard, 17, who died in the tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown last weekend.
The 31-year-old is from Donaghmore in Dungannon, where the three teenagers went to school. His sister was a neighbour of Miss Bullock.
McGinn, who started his career with Dungannon Swifts, said: “I was devastated when I heard the news.
“It was in the back of my mind to do well in the game against Estonia and score a goal and thankfully I did that.
“The little girl only lives two doors down from my sister and it is so, so sad what happened.
“My sister was down at the house the other day and my mum has been along as well. I saw the remains coming home and it has been a desperate time for all the families involved.
“I have spoken to a lot of people and everyone in Donaghmore is devastated, and if me doing well and scoring a goal on the international stage can bring any sort of light to the local community that is good.
“It was an important goal for Northern Ireland, but it was for my local community as well.”
Currie, Bullock and Barnard lost their lives in a crush outside the hotel, at a St Patrick’s Day party on Sunday evening.
It was McGinn’s fourth goal in 55 appearances for his country, his last coming against Ukraine in the European Championships three years ago.