Northern Ireland

Alan McDonald's funeral takes place in County Down

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Media captionTributes are paid to former Northern Ireland and Queens Park Rangers captain Alan McDonald

Around 500 mourners have attended the funeral of former Northern Ireland and Queens Park Rangers captain Alan McDonald.

The 48-year-old died suddenly while playing golf on Saturday morning.

Former Northern Ireland internationals Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong and Sammy McIlroy were among the mourners.

The congregation sang "We're not Brazil, We're Northern Ireland" as his coffin was carried from Ballygowan Presbyterian Church in County Down.

Image caption The mourners included Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, Jackie Fullerton and Pat Jennings

There was also a big representation at the service from McDonald's former club Queens Park Rangers.

'Legend'

Following news of his death, the London club opened a book of condolence to their "iconic former captain and assistant manager".

On its official website, QPR said: "The response since the book was opened has been staggering, with hundreds of rangers fans coming down to Loftus Road to pen their tributes to a true club legend."

Known as 'Big Mac', he made more than 400 appearances for QPR and was in the team that reached the League Cup final in 1986, losing 3-0 to Oxford United.

He also played for Charlton Athletic, on loan, and Swindon Town.

During his international career with Northern Ireland, the Belfast-born player won 52 caps, and scored three goals.

Image caption QPR, the club Alan McDonald was most associated with, paid tribute

The centre-half famously played in the Northern Ireland team that drew 0-0 against England in 1985 to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Shock

More recently, he managed the east Belfast club Glentoran, from June 2007 to March 2010.

He guided the team to victory in the County Antrim Shield in his first year in charge.

Under his management in 2009, Glentoran won the Irish League championship and narrowly lost the Setanta Cup final to Cork City.

He resigned the following year.

The news of his sudden death came as a huge shock to the football community in Northern Ireland.

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