Belfast GAA player dies while hiking in Nicaragua
Dies after fatal fall while on walking tour
A young Belfast GAA player has died in Nicaragua, following an accident on vacation.
Michael McLean (26). A trainee teacher, was fatally injured after a fall on Sunday in Central America.
His family paid tribute to "a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend to many".
Both his brother and sister have travelled to Nicaragua to bring his body home.
A recent graduate of Hope University in Liverpool, McLean had recently travelled to New York to meet with his younger brother Conor. The two siblings then travelled to Nicaragua for a walking holiday. The pair were taking a guided walking tour close to a Volcano when Michael fell and sustained a fatal head injury, he died soon after with his brother by his side.
Declan McClarnon from St Agnes' GAA Club told the Nolan Show on BBC Northern Ireland that Michael was "a lovely big gentleman".
"Nobody would have a bad word to say against him and he wouldn't have a bad word to say against them as well," he said.
"That was a testament to him.
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"His whole life was ahead of him. He had so much to give, so much to offer.
"He had a great love of coaching children.
"In teaching, I think he found his calling and vocation. His family are so proud of him and we are proud of him as his friends. We were really really sad to hear that tragic news."
Camilla Cole, a senior lecturer at Hope University in Liverpool described Michael as an "extraordinary young man" and a "real loss to the teaching community".
She told BBC Northern Ireland Michael would be remembered for his "cheerful disposition and generous spirit".
His local club in west Belfast St Agnes GAC paid tribute to the deceased footballer.
“It is with great sadness that we must inform our members of the passing of our club member Michael McLean,” said a statement on the club’s website.
“Michael died suddenly while travelling in Nicaragua, with his brother Conor.
“Michael was a gentleman and a true gael, he will be sadly missed by all that knew him, a keen footballer and hurler, and a short spell as club secretary ensures that Michael will always be remembered in the history of St Agnes GAC and the hearts of our members.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire McLean family circle at this time and especially with Conor, his parents Marie and Laurence, his sisters Patricia, Roisin and Louise and brother Martin.”
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