Stephen Kenny was in a state of disbelief at the FAI Awards on Sunday night when he heard news of Ryan McBride's tragic passing.
Just last Monday, McBride scored against Kenny's Dundalk in a 3-1 win for Derry. Kenny shook McBride's hand and spoke to him following the final whistle.
Kenny and McBride knew each other well. The Dundalk manager was in charge of Derry when McBride made his debut in 2011.
On Radio One's Morning Ireland, Kenny paid an emotional tribute to the 27-year-old Derry captain who was found dead at his home on Sunday evening.
He came through an unconventional route. We brought through a whole youth team into the first team. There were some terrific players who went onto play in England and at international level.
Ryan didn't come through that route. He was playing for a Saturday morning league team - Brandywell Harps. It was a massive jump to go from there to the first team.
He made his debut against Shamrock Rovers in a live game on RTÉ.
Brian McDermott, the Reading manager, had come to watch James McClean. He came to me and said 'We're not going to sign James but what about Ryan McBride? We're interested in signing Ryan'.
That was his debut, the first game he had ever played!
Kenny went on to describe McBride as the bravest player he has ever watched on a football pitch.
He was a ferociously brave player, the bravest I've ever seen on a football pitch.
He just launched himself at every challenge. Aggressive in the air and brave to a fault nearly. That's what endeared him to everybody.
He was every fan's favourite player and a great captain of Derry City.
He was just a really decent guy. He wore his heart on his sleeve but he was a shy individual.
You can listen to Stephen Kenny speak about Ryan McBride below.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) March 20, 2017
Picture credit: Sportsfile