The partner of a talented young footballer who was found dead has said she will be his “number one fan” for ever.
James Moore passed away at home on Friday. He was thought to have been in his mid-20s. His partner Hannah Barnes paid an emotional tribute to the former Cliftonville Olympic, Donegal Celtic and Larne FC midfielder.
The Celtic-obsessed player and youth coach, who most recently captained Willowbank FC in Belfast, is understood to have been found lifeless at around 10pm on Friday at his home in the west of the city by a loved one.
His body was discovered hours after he was photographed being refused entry to Windsor Park, where he missed seeing his beloved Celtic beat Linfield 2-0.
Hours earlier he had tweeted pictures of himself with fellow Celtic fans at the Red Devil pub on the Falls Road.
Ms Barnes yesterday posted a photograph of herself on Facebook showing her walking down a street wearing a No 7 top.
She wrote alongside the image: “His No 1 fan no matter what.”
Her message prompted hundreds of reactions from friends and loved ones, who described Mr Moore as a “gentleman” and said his death had left the world “a darker place”.
Ms Barnes’ Facebook page is filled with photographs of her smiling with Mr Moore at family functions and on nights out.
Hours before Mr Moore’s death he tweeted a photograph of pint glasses with the message: “Come on the Hoops.”
He posted the message beside an image of him posing outside the Red Devil saying: “Belfast is green and white.”
It is believed he was denied entry to Windsor Park on Friday as he only had a partial ticket. Police are not treating his death as suspicious.
Mr Moore’s passing led to hundreds of tribute messages on social media from people “shocked and saddened” that he had “gone too soon”.
A series of football clubs across Northern Ireland, from Willowbank to St James Swifts, released statements hailing Mr Moore as an “inspirational” player and youth coach. Former Northern Ireland international Sammy Clingan, who played at Linfield last season, tweeted: “Absolutely gutted to wake up and read the news that my wee mate has passed away.
“Can’t believe it. Such a gentleman.”
Boxer Michael Conlan said on Twitter: “Just heard the news about an old friend James Moore, absolutely gutted. RIP Jamesy lad, gone way too soon!
“Whatever your problems are, please speak to someone, anyone.
“It’s ok to talk.
“Thoughts and prayers with the whole Moore family and everyone who knew James, what a lovely player he was.”
Ms Barnes was yesterday said to be too upset to talk about the tragedy.