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Thursday 20 June 2019

'Joe lived life to the fullest' - Tributes pour in for young GAA star (21) as gardai launch murder investigation

  • Joe Deacy (21) discovered in driveway outside house in Swinford
  • Young man was holidaying in the area, visiting friends 
  • Gardaí now investigating circumstances surrounding death of young man
  • Tributes: 'You will always be remembered by all of us here at the club, your friends and teammates'
Murder victim Joseph Deacy
Murder victim Joseph Deacy
Superintendent Tony Healy briefing the media after the murder of Joseph Deacy at Claremorris Garda Station, Co. Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan

Ryan Nugent and Ryan O'Rourke

Tributes have been paid to a young GAA star who was discovered with apparent head injuries in Co Mayo at the weekend.

Joseph Deacy (21) of St. Albans in England, was discovered outside a house at Gortnasillagh, Swinford at approximately 6.00am on Saturday morning.

The alarm was raised by a passer-by and gardaí and emergency services attended the scene immediately.

The man was taken by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital and later removed to Beaumont Hospital where he was pronounced dead on Sunday evening, August 13.

The victim was on holiday in the area and had been visiting friends.

Mr Deacy was a regular visitor to the Swinford area and would come over quite often, according to Superintendent, Tony Healy.

Claremorris Garda Station, Co. Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Claremorris Garda Station, Co. Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan

"He was on holiday, he had some friends here in Ireland," Supt Healy said.

"He would be over and back here quite regularly and had a circle of friends he'd visit," he added.

It is understood the most substantial injuries sustained by Mr Deacy were to the head.

"He was found in the driveway of the house he had been staying in with his friends," Supt Healy said.

"He had been socialising in Kiltimagh town and would have returned to the house he was staying at in Gortnasillagh, Swinford," he added.

St Colmcilles paid tribute to Mr Deacy, who was a rising GAA star with their club.

"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 teammate, our friend, Joe Deacy.

"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. He had fantastic ability, great pace and was always a threat in front of goal. He has been a key member of the squad in recent years and has been very important to the success that the team has achieved recently.

"It is difficult to say goodbye to anyone at any age but, when it happens to someone so young, it is especially difficult. He will be sorely missed by us all.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe's family and friends at this time.

"You will always be remembered by all of us here at the club, your friends and teammates.

"Rest in peace Joe."

Carrick Sammon, from London also paid tribute to the victim.

“A beautiful person and a dear friend, Joe Deacy.

“I honestly in my six years of knowing him never heard him say one negative thing about anything or to anyone.

“Genuinely one of the friendliest people on the planet, who always wanted everybody to get along and have a good time.

“He could click in any circle being charismatic and just a joy to be around.

“We never know when it is our time and Joe lived life to the fullest.

"God bless his soul and may he rest in peace, a true gentlemen."

“God bless you Joe we will be looking up."

Gardaí are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the man.

A post-mortem examination was carried out by the State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy and the death is being treated as a homicide.

A forensic examination of the scene has been carried out and an incident room has been established at Claremorris Garda Station.

A Family Liaison Officer has been appointed in the case.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information to contact Claremorris Garda Station 094-9372080 or the Garda Confidential Line.

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