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Ex-Manchester United ace pays tribute to winger who scored famous Old Trafford FA Cup goal found dead at 44; Kieron Durkan wrote himself into the Wrexham AFC's folklore with an opening goal at Old Trafford - before enjoying a long career at Macclesfield and Rochdale.

Byline: Steve Bagnall

Former Wales and Manchester United winger Mickey Thomas has led the tributes to an ex-Wrexham AFC player who famously scored against the Red Devils in an FA Cup thriller.

Kieron Durkan wrote himself into the Welsh club's folklore when he gave the Dragons into an unlikely 1-0 lead in January 1995.

The famous fourth round game at Old Trafford eventually ended in a 5-2 victory for United, but the midfielder's opener is still remembered fondly.

Durkan also scored a screamer in the previous round against Premier League Ipswich at the Racecourse, which gave Wrexham a 2-1 win and set up the Manchester game.

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The circumstances surrounding the 44-year-old's death are unknown, but it is understood he died in the Runcorn area.

Mickey Thomas, a former Wrexham, Manchester United and Wales winger, said: "It is a real tragedy. I remember him as a young lad coming up through the ranks and of course there was that goal against Man Utd.

"He was a really nice lad and his family will be devastated. My thoughts are with them."

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Pete Jones, chairman of the Wrexham Supporters Trust, said: "It is extremely sad news to hear.

"His name will always live on in Wrexham with those special goals: that one that put Ipswich out of the FA Cup and the goal that put Wrexham 1-0 up against Man Utd.

"He's never been far from Wrexham fans' hearts."

In a statement, Wrexham AFC said: "The club has been so saddened to hear of the untimely passing of former player Kieron Durkan, at just 44 years of age.

"After coming through the ranks, he patiently waited on his first team chances, but always had a smile on his face and went onto make his mark in the club's history."

The club said that, after retiring from football, Mr Durkan is believed to have been a PCSO in the Widnes area.

The former player was also remembered on Wrexham AFC's Red Passion fan website and on social media.

One fan said: "I can still see that volley against Ipswich now. One of my favourite ever goals - never dreamed it would hit the net, but was probably his sweetest strike ever."

Another said: "Such sad news. Thanks for the memories."

Mr Durkan played for Wrexham between 1992 and 1996, making 50 appearances and scoring four goals.

He continued playing professionally for teams including Stockport County, Macclesfield Town, York City, Rochdale and Swansea City, and for non-League teams Caernarfon Town, Runcorn FC Halton, Leek Town and Cefn Druids, where he finished in 2005.

He made more than 250 appearances in the Football League.

CAPTION(S):

Credit: Daily Post WS

Kieron Durkan takes on Paul Scholes when Wrexham faced Manchester United in 1995

Credit: Daily Post Wales

Credit: Daily Post WS

Former Wrexham winger Kieron Durkan has died at 44

Credit: PA Archive

Kieron Durkan during his Macclesfield Town days

Credit: Daily Mirror

Mickey Thomas and Dave Sexton at Manchester United

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Title Annotation:Sport,Football,News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2018
Words:526
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