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Monday 26 August 2019

'I know how excited you were to become a Daddy' - boxer Kevin Sheehy's fiancée tells funeral

Boxer Kevin Sheehy's funeral arrives at the Holy Family Church, Southill for Requiem Mass this Saturday morning Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22 
Boxer Kevin Sheehy's funeral arrives at the Holy Family Church, Southill for Requiem Mass this Saturday morning Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22 

Lynne Kelleher

The heavily pregnant fiancée of boxer Kevin Sheehy told his funeral mass today of the boxing champ’s determination to become the best father to their baby girl.

Mourners packed into the Holy Family Church in Limerick for his funeral mass as they tried to come to terms with the loss of a handsome young boxer chasing an Olympic dream and just weeks from becoming a father for the first time.

In a heart-breaking letter, Emma Colbert said she didn’t know how she was going to live without him.

In the note to her "beloved Kevin" read out to mourners by her mother Trisha from the altar, the 20-year-old expectant mother said she found it hard to describe the pain she was feeling.

Kevin Sheehy. Picture: Sportsfile
Kevin Sheehy. Picture: Sportsfile

She said: "The thought of going through life is unbearable and I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

"We had so much planned for us and our baby girl and I know how excited you were to become a Daddy.

"The goals you set yourself in life were not the average 20-year-old’s but there was nothing average about you.

"You were the most positive person ever especially over the last few months. You were determined to be not only the best boxer you could be but also the best Daddy to our daughter."

Kevin Sheehy (Ken Moore/PA)
Kevin Sheehy (Ken Moore/PA)

The 20-year-old heavyweight died in the early hours of last Monday morning after he was struck by a car on the Hyde Road in the city.

The Limerick girl, who had been in a relationship with the boxer since she was just 15, said their love was "unbreakable".

She said: "You will always be my whole world. My life is nothing without you in it.

"You made me the proudest girlfriend in the world with all your achievements inside and outside the ring.

"From your hair to your smile, from the way you walked and talked there is nothing that wasn’t perfect about you.

"Kev, please give me the strength I need because I don’t want to be in this world without you. I love you always, my perfect boy, Love Em"

There was palpable grief in the Holy Family Church in Southhill in Limerick as the coffin draped with the blue and white colours of Kevin Sheehy’s St Francis boxing club was carried into the church.

The emblems from the glittering boxing career of the Olympic hopeful were laid on the altar; his boxing boots, gloves, his last medal and one of his promotional poster with the words ‘Keep Swinging Kev’.

Tribute after tribute were read out to the young champion by his relatives at the mass.

At the start of the mass, his aunt Aine O’Shaughnessy gave a eulogy.

She told how Kevin Sheehy had struggled to breathe when he first came into the world at his birth but grew up from a shy youngster into a charming, handsome boxing champion who was reaching for the stars in his sport.

She said: "Kevin came into this world as a fighter and stopped breathing when he was born and scared Tracy and Kevin.

"They didn’t get to see him for first two days of his life, but they have never stopped being beside his side since."

At the altar with five celebrants led by Father Tom Carroll and parish priest Fr. Joe Hayes, she told how he had grown in confidence as his boxing career soared.

"The town of Limerick and its environs has been enveloped in a cloud of sadness, sorrow and grief since the death of Kevin Sheehy," said Fr. Carroll.

He added: "Kevin was destined to join the pantheon of Limerick sporting heroes. All we can do is stand by you in your grief and sorrow."

His aunt Aine smiled as she shared her memories of how the champion also took great pride in his handsome looks.

"Everyone that knows our handsome boy knew he was always pristine clean and took pride in his appearance and often had his girlfriend Emma do his eyebrows," she said to laughter from the congregation.

"We all know Emma meant the world to Kevin and he knew he had met the perfect girl.

"Only Emma could give him a run for his money. She was just as beautiful as he is. Just like Kev, Emma is a kind-hearted, caring person.

"Kevin was so excited he was going to become a father and he was excited that he would have their very own little princess."

His aunt, Aine, said the young boxing role model was adored as a hero in the family.

"He got where he was with hard work and dedication. He achieved so much in a short space of time.

"How special he is, is evident by how distraught Limerick as a community is by the loss of our champ.

"I know, Kevin, you had your dream of being an Olympic champion... but in everyone’s eyes you will always be our Olympian, we love you forever."

A blue and white guard of honour from St. Francis boxing club flanked the coffin as it was led out of the church for burial in Mount St. Oliver Cemetery.

The late Kevin Sheehy won five Irish titles and represented his country at the World Youth and European U/22 Championships.

A man has been charged with murder in relation to the incident.

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