A transplant operation that saw former gaelic football star Joe Brolly donate a kidney to his friend has failed, a health trust has confirmed.

The organ that was given to Belfast PR executive Shane Finnegan earlier this month stopped working and was removed in a London hospital on Friday.

Derry All-Ireland winner Mr Brolly, 42, and Mr Finnegan, 40, know each other from coaching an U-10 team at St Brigid's in Belfast.

The Belfast Health Trust, which manages both men's care, said the kidney had initially worked well before problems developed.

"We can confirm that Mr Brolly is recovering very well having donated his kidney on 3 October," said a trust spokeswoman.

"However, sadly after initially functioning well, there were complications with the transplant and the kidney had to be removed on 12 October."

Two-time All Star Mr Brolly was lauded for his altruism after the gesture.

Now a barrister and RTÉ pundit, he had approached Mr Finnegan when he heard he needed a live donor.

Father-of-three Mr Finnegan has suffered from kidney problems for 20 years. This is the third transplant that has failed.

The trust said most kidneys from a living donor work successfully for years.

"This is a rare and unfortunate occurrence after kidney transplantation, and whilst both families are naturally devastated, they are hugely encouraged by the massive wave of goodwill and support from the community and the resultant increased public awareness of the critical importance of organ donation," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

"Mr Finnegan is confident that with the continued support of family and friends he will be home soon and able to resume a full family and work life.

"Both Shane and Joe are very keen to support the trust's campaign for organ donation and when fit and ready have agreed to spearhead a drive to increase the number of donors. For both men and their families, this has been a life affirming experience."