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Sunday 22 July 2018

Disbelief on both sides of Irish Sea as homicide probe confirmed

Joseph Deacy was found dead in Mayo. Pics from St Colmcille's/Facebook
Joseph Deacy was found dead in Mayo. Pics from St Colmcille's/Facebook

Ryan Nugent in Swinford

A reaction of disbelief filtered through the air on both sides of the Irish Sea as the circumstances surrounding the death of a popular young GAA man became apparent.

As gardaí gathered evidence and spoke to people and a post mortem was carried out, the injuries sustained did not add up to what they had initially heard.

And so a murder investigation was launched into the death of 21-year old, Joseph 'Joe' Deacy, from St Albans in England, who had been on holiday in Mayo.

The severe head injuries indicated a suspected fatal assault, as the probe into the homicide began some three days after Joseph had been found unconscious in a friend's driveway and two days after his death in Beaumont Hospital.

Joseph had been coming over to Mayo for years, particularly if it was to see his beloved Mayo play.

An avid GAA supporter, despite growing up in the north of London, Joe was even described by some as the "biggest Mayo fan" - quite the accolade, given the fanatical support for the county, particularly in this area of Mayo.

However, it wasn't just the lure of green and red that had him transfixed with the trips over.

Joseph was also a popular figure in the area, he had a close group of friends with whom he would regularly socialise.

And that is what he was doing the night before he died, enjoying the social scene in nearby Kiltimagh town, a far cry from the bright lights of London.

That community feel may have been what attracted him to the GAA, but he didn't just spectate, he played back home in St Albans for St Colmcilles.

A team-mate said that news surrounding how his pal had passed was slow to come out, with nobody at the club under the impression at first that he had been killed as they heard of his passing.

"We didn't really know any details of how it happened, because it didn't happen over here," he said.

The club posted some fitting photographs of Joseph doing what he did best, playing and even picking up a few awards along the way, being described as a "key member" of the team.

"It is with a heavy heart that we have to report the sad news of the passing of a member of the St Colmcilles family, a player, our team-mate, our friend, Joe Deacy," the club said.

"At 21 years of age, Joe had a bright future ahead of him. He had an amazing energy and a real lust for life.

"He was a great friend and people were drawn to his character, his humour and outlook on life.

"Joe loved playing Gaelic football and being a part of the senior team here at St Colmcilles."

Irish Independent

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