sad loss | 

Tributes paid to Limerick FC footballer Sam Oji following tragic death aged 35

'Very sad to hear the news this morning about Sam Oji. A gentleman but also a brilliant character,' Oji’s former Galway United teammate Conor Barry said.

Samuel Oji, playing for Limerick FC in 2013. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Alan Sherry

Tributes have poured in for former League of Ireland player Samuel Oji who died in the early hours of this morning at the age of 35.

The centreback, who had been severely ill in hospital this week, played for three years in the League of Ireland for Limerick FC and Galway United.

Oji, who was from London, started his footballing career at Arsenal Youths before going on to play for several other sides including Birmingham and Leyton Orient.

He ended his playing career at non-league English side Highgate United and had been working there as assistant manager this season.

His former club Limerick FC were among the man to pay tribute to him in a statement today.

“Tragic news this morning as former Limerick F.C player Samuel Oji has tragically passed away.

"Signed under Stuart Taylor and Malkay Thompson, Sam was an outstanding player and more importantly, an outstanding person. Sincere condolences from all at the club go to his family, friends and loved ones. RIP.”

Galway United offered their condolences Oji’s family and loved ones. “Sam scored for us in our first game back in the Premier Division in 2015 and was a terrific player in his time at the club. He was a hugely popular person and a gentleman. Rest easy, Sam,” a club spokesperson said.

Oji’s former Galway United teammate Conor Barry paid tribute to him on Twitter today.

"Very sad to hear the news this morning about Sam Oji. A gentleman but also a brilliant character.

"Very good to us young lads coming through at the time. Rest easy big man."

Former England and Aston Villa player Lee Hendrie said Oji was “one of the nicest guys you meet on and off the pitch” and added that he was gone too soon.

Galway United’s former media officer Vinny O’Connor said Oji made such a big impression in the short time he knew him.

“Infectious smile, bubbly personality, always friendly and accommodating. I only got to work with Sam Oji for one season at GUFC, but he left a lasting impression on me and many others.

"The news this morning is so terribly sad. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Sam."

His current club Highgate United announced his death this morning. “It is with a very heavy heart that I am deeply saddened to inform you, that our beloved Captain, Leader and Legend Samuel Oji has sadly passed away.

"The thoughts of all at Highgate United FC are with Sam’s wife, children and family at this very sad time," a club spokesperson said.

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