Bronagh McMenamin: A footballer who refused to let CF stand in her way

Obituary: As a Tesco worker, she was known and liked by thousands

Bronagh McMenamin:  July 23rd, 1991-May 3rd,  2016 Photograph: courtesy of Derry City FC.

Bronagh McMenamin: July 23rd, 1991-May 3rd, 2016 Photograph: courtesy of Derry City FC.


Derry woman Bronagh McMenamin, who has died from cystic fibrosis in a Belfast hospital in her 25th year, lived a remarkably fulfilled life. She made an impact as a footballer with Derry City Ladies. During her playing days, she was a leader on the team, helping to take it to a new level. She had a huge personality, which touched all who knew her. Through her work at Tesco in Lisnagelvin, the main supermarket serving Derry’s Waterside, she touched the lives of thousands.

As a footballer, she gave 100 per cent to Derry City Ladies. The team needed players like her at the time, as it moved into Northern football and set the objective of challenging for honours. She mostly played at midfield, and occasionally up front.

She always displayed a grittiness and endeavour, because she had to push through barriers to play. She never made anything of her condition. This was despite it sometimes being obvious she was having trouble with her breathing. She gave her all to football. When not playing, she attended matches, and promoted the sport. Her illness, tragically, cut short her career.


In the past couple of years, her health deteriorated. This resulted in lengthening spells in hospital. In a Facebook post last month, she explained how she dealt with her illness: “When I’m in hospital and can’t go out for a few days, I always plan something nice so that I have something to look forward to when I come out. You can fight anything bad that comes along when there’s something positive at the end. Having cystic fibrosis doesn’t stop me from doing everything I want to do, but when I’m unwell, it can stop me from going to work, stop me walking and stop me doing pretty much everything, but when I’m well, I can do anything that someone who doesn’t have cystic fibrosis can do.”

Above all, her outstanding characteristics were a personality that could light up a room, her good humour despite adversity, and her good manners. Her sense of humour was constant and sharp. In work, customers knew her as “the wee girl with all the tattoos”.

She was born in July 1991, the second of two children, and only daughter, to William McMenamin and his wife Margaret (née Nash).

She was raised in Derry’s Waterside, and educated at Trench Road Primary School, St Brecan’s Secondary School, and the North-West Regional College. Growing up with cystic fibrosis, she knew life would be shortened, but she lived it to the full.

She is survived by her mother, Margaret, father William, brother Aaron and family circle.