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Tributes to soccer ace who shook Man Utd.

Byline: STEVE BAGNALL newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

Tributes have flooded in following the death of an ex-Wrexham AFC player who famously scored against Manchester United in an FA Cup thriller.

Kieron Durkan, who wrote himself into the club's folklore when he gave the Dragons an unlikely 1-0 lead against the Red Devils in January 1995, was "never far from Wrexham fans' hearts", said one supporter.

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 today.

It was also Mr Durkan who scored a screamer in the previous round against Premier League Ipswich at the Racecourse, which gave Wrexham a 2-1 lead, dumped the Tractor Boys out, and set up the Manchester game.

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

Mickey Thomas, a former Wrexham, Man Utd 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."

Pete Jones, chairman of the Wrexham Supporters Trust, who run Wrexham AFC, 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 on to 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):

<B Brian Flynn welcomes Kieron Durkan to the Vetch

<B Kieron Durkan at Swansea Howell Davies

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 2, 2018
Words:479
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