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Pals to take mum of tragic 'Pool fan James to Anfield

THE heartbroken mother of drowned soccer fanatic James Sheehan will be taking her son's place in the stands at next week's clash between Liverpool and Manchester United.

Catherine Sheehan today said she was "completely touched" when her son's friends invited her to accompany them to the crunch game "in memory of James".

The body of the 18-year-old teenager was found in the Avoca river in Co Wicklow last month after a five-day search by rescue teams.

He was said to be "extremely excited" about travelling with friends to Anfield for Liverpool's eagerly awaited clash with arch rivals Manchester United.


Speaking to the Herald today, his devastated mother Catherine told how his close friends insisted that she go in her late son's place.

"I was touched to be honest. He was so excited about going. He was mad about Liverpool. It was an honour to be asked and I'm delighted to go. He loved Liverpool so much. He would have loved to be there cheering them on. They [his friends] have been simply amazing.

"Things have been impossible without James. I slept properly for the first time last night -- but still only got four hours sleep. The support I've got is just incredible."

The Liverpool Football Club anthem -- You'll Never Walk Alone -- was played at the teen's funeral in Arklow last month.

Volunteer diver Anthony Conlon (22) discovered James's remains on the river bed, several hundred metres from the Bridgewater Shopping Centre in Arklow on August 23.

The search, which was led by a garda divisional team and the force's underwater unit, had focused on that area after CCTV footage disclosed a positive sighting of James at around 3.35am the previous Sunday.

Catherine also told the Herald that a benefit night is being organised by James's friends and family to generate proceeds for the Boyne Fisherman's Rescue and Recovery Service is set to be held on August 28.

"They were simply incredible during the rescue search. They never stopped looking for him until they found them. They worked day and night. I just can't thank them enough.

"It's going to be an incredible night and everything raised will go to these volunteers who are simply fantastic. The lads from Arklow Celtic will even be doing the full monty -- they care that much about getting involved."

James disappeared after he had been socialising with friends in a pub and then a club in the town before being given a lift to the Willow Grove area around 2.40am.

Half-an-hour later he was spotted walking along the river bank and gardai believe he had been planning to meet a female friend.

His last contact was made after 5am when he sent a text to a friend, asking "where are you?"