'Devastated' teammates of stabbing victim Josh to release balloons in his memory

Ordinarily, the 16-year-old would have been at soccer training on a Tuesday night, but it has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, his coach said.
'Devastated' teammates of stabbing victim Josh to release balloons in his memory

16-year-old Josh Dunne had been “a huge part” of the St Kevin’s team where he had been signed at the age of 14. Picture: Bohemians FC/PA

Friends and teammates of 16-year-old Josh Dunne, who was the victim of a fatal stabbing in East Wall in Dublin on Tuesday night, are to release balloons in his memory.

Heartbroken friends of the promising young footballer will not be able to attend his funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions, but will perform a guard of honour.

Gerry Reddy, assistant manager at St Kevin's boys soccer club, where Josh played, said people are devastated by the incident.

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“We're going to see [his teammates] for the first time today at half three there's going to be a balloon ceremony," he told RTÉ radio.

"The young people around Ballymun are going to allow balloons off and we're going to have the team there because they want to do something.

“They won't be allowed go to the funeral, they'll perform a guard of honour at the funeral, but they're not allowed into the church so they'll have to go off after that. 

They're absolutely devastated. There's text messages coming in from them all the time, they just don't know how to deal with this.

Mr Reddy said, in recent weeks, Josh's mother had contacted the club in the hopes of resuming soccer training which is currently prohibited due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Ordinarily Josh would have been training on Tuesday night, explained Mr Reddy. 

“Instead he was on the streets," he said.

Mr Reddy met with Josh's mother Diane yesterday. She had expected her son to be famous for his footballing skills.

“She said he's famous now for the wrong reasons," Mr Reddy said.

Flower and messages of condolence left at the site of the tragic incident in East Wall, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Flower and messages of condolence left at the site of the tragic incident in East Wall, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

"There was a path for him, he was definitely going to be a professional player, he had that much talent and the proper attitude.” 

Josh had been “a huge part” of the St Kevin’s team where he had been signed at the age of 14.

“He made a massive difference to the team because he was just so good. His game was so good, for an opposition to try and mark him it was really difficult because he was sure footed and he was lightning fast and he was usually an attacking force so he was usually the difference when we played big teams.

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"He came to us from Tolka Rovers, he came with a very good attitude. He would always be at training and he was always early. There was never any problems with him like that.

“His game - he was so intense, he was an aggressive type player - but not aggressive off the pitch so he had attracted the interest.”

Gardaí investigating the fatal stabbing have spoken to a large number of witnesses who were on the scene.

While detectives remain keen to speak to a number of food delivery men who were in the East Wall area on Tuesday night, it is understood they have a clear picture of what unfolded on the evening.

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