Applause broke out in the 32nd minute at the Athletic Grounds this afternoon as Armagh and Mayo fans paid a poignant tribute to murder victim Natalie McNally.
McNally, who was 32, was killed in her home in Lurgan on December 18th last year. She was 15 weeks pregnant with her with her baby son Dean.
The family of Ms McNally were invited to this afternoon's Allianz League Division One clash by the Armagh County Board.
Her brothers Niall, Brendan and Declan and her parents Bernie and Noel witnessed the show of solidarity and spoke during the week about what it meant to them.
“It means the world to us,” Niall told the Irish News.
“I remember last year I was organising the tickets for the Armagh-Tyrone game and then I realised: ‘I forgot about Natalie!’ It completely slipped my mind but I got her one in the end and we were able to enjoy that day.
“It was a great day and we hope for better days ahead. Unfortunately Natalie won’t be there to enjoy them with us and that’s the sad reality of it. We just hope that we can carry her message with us to Armagh matches in the future and we have plans to do that. We’re getting a flag made with her face on it to bring to every match and help to spread the word.”
Natalie McNally remembered at the Athletic Grounds
“I’m sure there’ll be plenty of tears and it’ll be emotional,” he continued.
“We hope that what happens at the Athletic Grounds will help with our campaign to end violence against women, we hope it will spread the word about that.
“That’s what Sunday is about, it’s not just about us getting our justice; it’s about ending violence against women and girls. Natalie was big into her activism and I think she would be proud of us for carrying on this message so it’s about keeping the word out there and helping to put an end to this.
The applause from both sets of supporters was moving:
Up Armagh 🟠⚪️
Remember our Natalie#JusticeForNatalieMcNally #SayHerName #EndViolenceAgainstWomen pic.twitter.com/rht2dmVkuA
— Niall McNally (@IrishBlue1878) February 5, 2023
@Armagh_GAA and @mayogaa fans pay tribute in 32nd minute of today’s League game to murdered 32-year-old woman Natalie McNally. #CallThisOut #EndViolenceAgainstWomen pic.twitter.com/l3R4ZWUVyU
— Petermcv (@Peter_u105) February 5, 2023
Justice for Natalie McNally and Baby Dean 💖💙
Round of applause on the 32nd minute at the Armagh Match🤍🕊️ #ArmaghvMayo #JusticeForNatalieMcNally #EndViolenceAgainstWomen #SheWasOnlyAtHome pic.twitter.com/XUmTmH2jrS
— Shannon Ní Cheallaigh (@shannonlkelly13) February 5, 2023
This was not the first time Armagh fans have rallied around a grieving family and paid a touching mark of respect.
Last year during their championship game with Tyrone fans applauded during the 27th minute to remember Michaela McAreavey.
It followed video footage that emerged showing a gathering at an event in Dundonald Orange Hall singing a song mocking her murder while on honeymoon in 2011.
A number of other touching tributes have been paid to Natalie McNally, including a vigil in her home town of Lurgan.
The family are also massive Everton fans and the Merseyside club remembered Natalie last month.
Tribute paid to Natalie McNally before Everton game with Southampton. pic.twitter.com/Ke0zLuYsIZ
— Marty Gahan (@gahan_marty) January 15, 2023
A man was charged with murder this week in relation to the crime and while this will undoubtedly have provided some comfort for the family, their fight for justice continues.