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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Limerick people 'distraught at the loss of their champion' as funeral of Kevin Sheehy takes place

The 20-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Hyde Road in Limerick.

Sheehy in action in the  National Stadium, Dublin in February.
Sheehy in action in the National Stadium, Dublin in February.
Image: INPHO/Bryan Keane

POIGNANT TRIBUTES WERE paid to murder victim Kevin Sheehy at his funeral this morning as hundreds of mourners heard that Limerick is “distraught” at the loss of their champion. 

It was standing room only as the world of boxing joined family and friends of the five time Irish champion at Holy Family Church in Southill on the outskirts of Limerick city to remember the talented sportsman. 

The 20-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Hyde Road in Limerick in the early hours of Monday morning. 

Members of Kevin’s Saint Francis Boxing Club showed their respect for their clubman, who was tipped to represent Ireland in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with a guard of honour. 

Leading the tributes was Kevin Sheehy’s aunt, Aine O’Shaugnessy, who said the talented boxer rose to the top of his game due to “hard work and dedication”. 

She described Kevin as a ‘shy boy’ growing up, a far cry from the confident man he grew into with the help of boxing. 

“Limerick as a community is distraught at the loss of their champion,” she told mourners. 

During the mass a number of symbols were presented to the front of the church including Kevin’s boxing boots, a medal from his last victory in Hull, a heavyweight boxing title, and a photograph of his fiancée Emma and the baby girl that they are expecting. 

Chief celebrant, Father Tom Carroll, who previously spent nine years as a parish priest of Southill, welcomed Kevin’s large circle of friends and family who he said were set to share the boxer’s “future glory and success”. 

Making reference to Limerick’s hurlers, who Kevin had earlier watched before meeting his untimely death, Fr Carroll said that the Carew Park native was destined to join the pantheon of sporting heroes in Limerick. 

He said that Limerick and its environs has been “enveloped in a cloud of sadness, sorrow and grief since the brutal death of Kevin Sheehy” who had his “dream of becoming an Olympian champion taken away” from him. 

“On Sunday we basked in Limerick’s great victory in the Munster Hurling final but we were stopped in our tracks on Monday when the sad news of Kevin’s death broke,” Fr Carroll said. 

Since then we have been under a dark cloud as we try to cope with his sad and tragic death. There are no words that describe the depth of your pain. You’ll never walk alone, as the song says. 

“All is not lost – our memory comes to help us. Murder and violence cannot rob us of this special faculty. Kevin will live on in the memory of his family forever,” he added. 

In a heart-wrenching emotional open letter by Kevin’s fiancée Emma Colbert, read out by her mother Trisha, she described him as the “most positive person ever” who was ‘excited’ to “become a Daddy”. 

“We had so much planned for us and our baby girl,” she said. “The thought of going through life without you in unbearable, and I don’t know how I am going to do it”. 

The talented boxer was later brought to his final resting place at the nearby Mount St Oliver Cemetery.

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David Byrne

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