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Jun 23, 2012

Former QPR captain McDonald dies

Former Northern Ireland and Queens Park Rangers captain Alan McDonald has died at the age of 48.

McDonald, capped 52 times by his country, collapsed while playing golf on Saturday morning. A statement from QPR said the West London club - for whom he played more than 400 times - was "desperately saddened to hear of the passing of our former captain."

The central defender was a member of Northern Ireland's 1986 World Cup side, playing in matches against Algeria, Spain and Brazil. After retiring from playing, he managed Glentoran to the 2009 Irish title and was also the assistant coach of the Northern Ireland Under-21s.

An Irish Football Association statement said: "We are deeply shocked at the death of Alan. To die at such a young age is terrible.''

The former Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy, who was a close friend of McDonald, said: "I'm shellshocked. Forty-eight is so young. Alan was always larger than life."

His ex-international colleague John O'Neill - also a team-mate at QPR - told the BBC: "When he came into the Northern Ireland team he had a cockiness about him, but on the pitch he was prepared to listen to the experienced players.

"He put in a tremendous performance in his debut against Romania and matched it in that second appearance against England at Wembley.

"Alan will be badly missed - he was a character, and there are not many of them around these days."

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