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Tributes paid to ex-footballer; UNITED LEGEND 'DEVASTATED' AFTER DEATH OF FORMER STOCKPORT COUNTY WINGER.

Byline: ALEX SCAPENS alex.scapens@menmedia.co.uk @ALEXSCAPENSMEN

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Stockport County footballer who suddenly died at the age of 44.

Kieron Durkan, who played for the Hatters 65 times between 1996-98, was found dead in his home town of Runcorn, Cheshire, on Tuesday night.

The winger also appeared for Macclesfield Town, Rochdale, Wrexham and Swansea in a career that spanned 13 years.

He is perhaps best remembered for giving Wrexham a shock 1-0 lead in an FA Cup match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1995 before the Welsh side succumbed 5-2. But his most prolific stint came at Macclesfield, where he scored 13 goals in 102 games in three seasons from 1998. And according to his thenmanager, United legend Sammy McIlroy, he was a major part of the Silkmen's promotion-winning team out of the old Division Three.

He said: "He was a fantastic lad and great to work with, there were no problems on or off the pitch and he was a great professional.

"I am devastated by this terrible news. He was a great character to have and everyone liked him.

"He will be sadly missed by his friends, family and the clubs he played for. He was strong, could cross a ball and score a goal.

"I remember he always had an energy drink and said he needed it to play, not many players thought about that back then."

Stockport County has also paid tribute via its Twitter account.

A tweet said: "RIP Kieron. Very sad news. The thoughts of everyone at County are with his family and friends."

Mr Durkan also had spells at nonleague clubs, including Runcorn FC. A statement from the town's club, now called Runcorn Linnets, said: "The club is saddened to hear the news of the passing away of Kieron Durkan, undoubtedly one of the finest football players to ever come from our town.

"As well as his incredible talent he will be remembered for an infectious smile, and the thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this very sad time."

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Kieron Durkan was found dead on Tuesday night

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 2, 2018
Words:363
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