Football community is in mourning for Mark

5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

The Banbridge football community was mourning the death of the popular Mark Chambers last week.

He was part of a huge sporting family in the local area with his brother John who managed Rathfriland and another brother Paul having playing as a right-back for Banbridge Town.

Mark himself had a fantastic football career and was right in the heart of football around the Banbridge area, having played for Banbridge AFC, Rathfriland, Banbridge Town and Seapatrick.

Mark began his career with the Boys’ Club before earning a transfer to Nottingham Forest in the early 1970s, where he was to room with future European Cup winning star and Northern Ireland international Martin O’Neill.

The local lad even bagged a hat-trick on his club debut in a Central League game against Doncaster Rovers. That was the equivalent of today’s Reserve League.

A real home bird, Mark then returned to play for Portadown for many years in the Irish League under Gibby MacKenzie.

His brother John then secured his services at Rathfriland, from where he moved on to Banbridge Town,

During his spell at the Town, Mark played alongside another brother, Paul, who is still involved with the Town’s Supporters Club.

Mark was also to play for Seapatrick in a career that won him a space in the hearts of the local sporting community, which was well represented at his funeral at Seapatrick Parish Church last Thursday.