'My boy, my best friend, I am numb': Community rallies together at vigil for Kevin Sheehy

'My boy, my best friend, I am numb': Community rallies together at vigil for Kevin Sheehy
Balloons released in memory of Kevin Sheehy, at his home in Limerick. Pictures: Brendan Gleeson

A floral shrine of love has appeared where champion boxer Kevin Sheehy was killed in a hit and run last Monday.

A 29-year-old man has appeared before Limerick District Court this morning charged in connection with Mr Sheehy’s murder.

The talented fighter died after he was knocked down by a black Mitsubishi SUV on Hyde Road.

Another man in his 20s suffered minor injuries during the incident.

A file will be prepared for the DPP on the arrest of an 18-year-old man, as part of the murder probe, after the teenager was released last night without charge.

A well-placed Garda source said Mr Sheehy died from injuries “consistent with a fatal road traffic collision”, but they said that for “operational reasons” they would not be disclosing specific details of his injuries.

Gardaí said the black SUV left the scene, and travelled across the city, before been abandoned near the Ennis Road.

A vigil took place in Mr Sheehy’s local community last night where balloons were released into the sky in remembrance of the rising sports star.

Emma Colbert at the balloon release last night.
Emma Colbert at the balloon release last night.

Earlier, family, friends and neighbours created a floral shrine to Sheehy who had represented Ireland in the ring and was also tipped as a future Olympian.

Loved ones and friends left poignant messages to their “champ” as members of the community, overcome with grief, blessed themselves, stood in silence, and lit candles at the shrine.

Local parish priest Fr John Walsh, who met with Mr Sheehy’s pregnant partner Emma Colbert at the shrine, said he gave her and her unborn daughter a “small blessing”.

Mr Sheehy and Ms Colbert were sweethearts since their early teens and had been looking forward to the arrival of their first child, due in the next five weeks.

A love letter left at the scene read: “Please give me the strength to get through this Kevin. I am so lost without you already. All I want is a big hug and kiss from you. I’ll love you forever and always...Emma xxx.”

The poignant letter continued: “My boy, my best friend, I am numb. I can’t believe I am writing this on paper, words can’t describe how I feel right now.

"There is no one in the world I adore more than you, my boy you made me the happiest girl in the world.”

You were so excited to meet your princess. I promise you she will know everything about you and how much you love her and couldn’t wait to have our own little family.

Fr Walsh said everyone in the community had been floored by the tragedy.

“There is no doubt it is an extraordinary situation. It leaves us all bereft. We all feel helpless but at the same time our presence, I believe is a support for the family, I think,” Fr Walsh added.

Another heartbreaking tribute left at the scene read: “To Daddy, I couldn’t wait to meet you and for us to be a family. Please mind me and mammy. Love your baby girl xxx.”

A separate note read: “You will never be forgotten. Watch over Emma and your little girl always.”

Another read: “Heaven has taken our champ.”

Fr Walsh said prayers were said at mass for Mr Sheehy’s family and partner.

He added: “I met her at the scene of the incident earlier. All I can say is that she was completely devastated, as indeed all the family are.”

“People are numb by the tragedy because he was such a young man with a bright future before him, and all that’s just gone.”

An ultrasound of Kevin Sheehy’s unborn child and a letter from his partner, Emma, lie among tributes to the boxer near his Limerick home.
An ultrasound of Kevin Sheehy’s unborn child and a letter from his partner, Emma, lie among tributes to the boxer near his Limerick home.

“Our hearts go out to them. What more can we do but offer our hand of friendship and prayer, and that’s what we have been doing in the church.”

Fr Walsh said he too had struggled to comprehend the tragedy, as he stood in silence with Mr Sheehy’s loved ones.

“I was without words, except to stand with them and give them a small blessing, and just share in their grief.

"We might not be as close to the tragedy, but we all feel the grief of losing somebody so young in the community,” he added.

Very Rev Canon Donough O’Malley, who has also recently served in the parish, spoke of his horror at hearing of the killing.

“All our fellow citizens are shocked at the death of a good young lad who achieved a lot in the sporting world in his short life,” Fr O’Malley added.

Mr Sheehy was a local hero to children on the south side of Limerick city.

Last May he excitedly tweeted how he had visited his former CBS primary school to give an inspirational talk about how his beloved sport had, for him, opened doors to a bright future.

Accompanied by his friend and coach Ken Moore, Mr Sheehy also performed a demonstration of his skills in front of the awestruck CBS pupils from which he proudly retweeted photographs posted by his former alumni.

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