Garda pays tribute to 'heroics' of Ennis teen,(15), who died while trying to save friend

By Gordon Deegan

Latest: A senior Garda has described as ‘heroic’ the efforts made by Shay Moloney who lost his own life while trying to save the life of his friend, Jack Kenneally at a lake in Ennis on Thursday afternoon.In the double drowning tragedy that claimed the lives of the two 15-year-olds at a lake at a disused quarry outside Ennis, Shay lost his life as he tried in vain to save the life of Jack.Ennis Rugby Club yesterday described the two as ‘brothers in arms’ and Supt Brendan McDonagh of Ennis Garda Station said that Shay made ‘heroic’ efforts in trying to rescue Jack from the water.Supt McDonagh said: “It is our understanding that Shay went back in and tried to help Jack who had got into difficulty and Shay got into trouble himself. Another boy went down to help them as well. That boy just got exhausted and was not able to help and had to come back up. The water is quite deep out there.”

Shay Maloney (left) and Jack Kenneally (right). Pic: Ennis Rugby Club Twitter
It is understood that it was Shay’s first time to swim at the lake at a disused quarry at Knockanean outside Ennis. Supt McDonagh said: “Unfortunately, where they were swimming, there was no life-saving equipment. It is very sad for their families and friends who are doing their Junior Cert. It is a parents’ worst nightmare.”Member of Clare Co Council, Cllr Ann Norton (Ind) said that the sadness for the two “was palpable on the streets of Ennis” yesterday as the community prepared to pay their final respects to the two with Jack to be laid to rest on Sunday and Shay’s funeral taking place on Monday in the town.In a message of Facebook, one of Jack’s three sisters, Katie wrote: "I am actually lost for words in this moment. All I can say is you will be forever missed and always loved. You were the most amazing little brother and we are all so so devastated to say the least rest in peace bro we all love you soo soo much.”Katie later wrote: “RIP Jack and Shay - at least ye are together.”Shay from Hazelwood, Ennis and Jack from Waterpark Heights, Ennis were yesterday described as the ‘heart-beat’ of the all conquering under-15 Ennis rugby team and the club was yesterday inundated from messages of sympathy from clubs across Ireland but also around the world.The club received messages from Young Munster RFC, Mitchelstown RFC, Skibbereen RFC, Cill Dara RFC, UL Boh’s RFC, Shannon RFC, St Mary’s College RFC, Sunday’s Well RFC, Malahide RFC, Mulling RFC, Galwegians RFC and many more Irish clubs. Club President, Richard Murphy said that messages of sympathy have also come from clubs in Australia, the UK, Australia and Canada. Departing Munster star, Simon Zebo also expressed his sympathies to the families and friends of the two online yesterday.In a heartfelt tweet, Ennis rugby club paid an emotional tribute to the two and accompanied by a photo of the two in the Ennis red and black colours, the club stated: “Our brothers in arms. Our warriors when the going go tough. Our leaders when the pressure came on. Our pride when they took the field. Our joy when they lit it up off the field. The devilment when it got all too serious. Our gentlemen always. Our terrible loss.”Their u-15 coach, Eamon Connaughton said yesterday: "They were the backbone of the team and we would have won neither the North Munster league or cup without them. They were so strong together. Both of them made it to the u16 Munster trials and those trials are still in progress. They were out and out rugby players. They were lovely lads and developing into such nice young men and they just got unlucky."He said: "They were great friends, great players and great lads. It is just a tragedy." Shay played as hooker while Jack played in the second row.In a statement, Mr Murphy said that Shay and Jack “were the guys that lead from the front, the guys that carried the fight, the guys that made the difference.”He said: “As well as developing into exciting rugby players, both Jack and Shay were developing into fine young men who were a credit to their family and friends. As resolute and fearless as they were on the pitch, they were as funny, engaging and inspiring off the pitch. Our club was a better place for having them as part of it and their absence will be keenly felt.In winning the North Munster league and Cup where they beat Young Munster in both finals, Mr Murphy said: “The two ran riot in the games against Young Munster.”At the site where the boys lost their lives yesterday, friends had placed flowers, popcorn, sunglasses and a pair of Ennis RFC shorts.The drowning of the two comes around 35 years after another star member of the Ennis RFC underage set up and sports all-rounder, Johnny Scahill died while swimming at the lake.The site which contains the lake has been on the market for a number of years and the Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon website confirmed that the 62 site with a price tag of €185,000 is now sale agreed.Previous plans by a developer to build houses on the site failed and the site has been rezoned to agriculture.The site has been on the market on the instructions of a receiver and Cllr Norton said that whoever purchases the site must secure it and make it safe. The water body - known as the ‘Quarry’ locally is a swimming blackspot - and there are signs at the entrance of the lands stating ‘Danger - Deep Water - No Swimming’ and ‘Danger silt Pond, Deep Water, Keep Clear'.Update: Tributes paid to teens 'who were a credit to their family and friends' following tragic drowning in quarry

Two teenage friends who drowned in a disused quarry in Ireland have been described as brothers in arms.

Jack Kenneally and Shay Moloney, both 15, died after getting into difficulties when swimming in the quarry lake at Knockanean on the outskirts of Ennis, Co Clare on Thursday afternoon.

They both played rugby for Ennis RFC.

The club paid an emotional tribute in a statement on Friday morning.

"Jack and Shay. Our brothers in arms," the club said.

"Our warriors when the going got tough. Our leaders when the pressure came on. Our pride when they took the field. Our joy when they lit it up off the field. Our devilment when it all got too serious. Our gentlemen always. Our terrible, terrible loss.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the Kenneally and Moloney families and also to the friends and team mates of these two wonderful boys. May they rest in peace."

Richard Murphy, President of Ennis RFC, went on: “Shay and Jack were the heartbeat of our successful U-15 squad. They were the guys that lead from the front, the guys that carried the fight, the guys that made the difference.

“As well as developing into exciting rugby players, both Jack and Shay were developing into fine young men who were a credit to their family and friends. As resolute and fearless as they were on the pitch, they were as funny, engaging and inspiring off the pitch. Our club was a better place for having them as part of it and their absence will be keenly felt.

“We would like to acknowledge and thank the support of the broader rugby family at home and abroad in this difficult time. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the support of individuals and sports clubs across Ireland who have contacted us with their condolences and sympathies. Words and sentiments matter at times like this and it is all greatly appreciated.

“Our thoughts and actions are now completely focused on supporting the Moloney and Kenneally families over the coming days and weeks.”

Jack was a second-year student at Ennis Community College.

Principal Brian O'Donoghue said the school community had been left deeply saddened.

"This is a terrible tragedy for the Kenneally family, our school and our community," he said.

Jack was a talented rugby player and played for Ennis RFC. He was so proud of his achievements as we all were. Jack will be greatly missed by his fellow students and teachers.

"Offers of support have been pouring in and are greatly appreciated."

He said the school had implemented its critical incident management plan, with support being offered to staff and pupils.


Shay attended nearby St Flannan's College in Ennis.

In a statement, the school said: "Our thoughts are with Shay's family and friends. Shay was a third-year student and will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

Shay Maloney (left) and Jack Kenneally (right). Pic: Ennis Rugby Club Twitter

Update: Community 'shocked and traumatised' as 15-year-old boys who drowned in Clare named

Two 15-year-old boys, who got into difficulty while swimming at the quarry in Co Clare, have been named locally as Jack Kenneally and Shay Maloney from Ennis.

It is understood two teenage boys were attempting to swim across the lake when one got into difficulty and the other tried to save him.

It took emergency services 40 minutes to locate them – they were taken to hospital but pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Shay was a third-year student at St Flanans College while Jack was a second-year student at Ennis Community College.

Both have put a critical incident management plan in place and psychologists will be available to support students and teachers.

Local councillor Mary Howard knows the family and said the community cannot believe what's happened.

She said: "It's a sad, sad day here.

"You see these things happening on the news every summer when the summer gets nice...but here we are, we've had this on our doorstep.

"We're all trying to get our heads around it, everybody is shocked and traumatised, and so upset for the two families."

Earlier: Two teenage boys have drowned in County Clare.

The quarry near Knockanean. Photo: Liam Burke/Press 22.

Emergency services were called to an incident at a quarry lake at Knockanean in Ennis at 3.30pm on Thursday.

The two 15-year-old boys, believed to be from Ennis, were airlifted to University Hospital Limerick in a critical condition, but were later pronounced dead, Gardai said.

Gardaí had been told that people were in difficulty in the water and assistance was required.

A rescue helicopter from Shannon was dispatched and the two boys were taken from the lake.

Their names will not be released until family members have been notified, Gardai said.


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