Two men held on suspicion of murder over boxer hit-and-run
Pair arrested as gardaí investigate if Kevin Sheehy’s death in Limerick deliberate
Kevin Sheehy, who died after he was knocked down on the Hyde Road in Limerick at around 4.40am. Photograph: Ken Moore/PA Wire
Kevin Sheehy in action in the National Stadium, Dublin in February 2018. File photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
The scene of the hit-and-run on Limerick’s Hyde Road.
Gardaí have arrested two men in connection with a hit-and-run incident which killed champion Irish boxer Kevin Sheehy in Limerick . The pair, in their late teens and late twenties, are being held at a midlands Garda station on suspicion of murder.
Garda sources said that they were investigating if the incident was deliberate and the 20-year-old from John Carew Park was specifically targeted.
Mr Sheehy’s body was discovered at about 4.40am at Hyde Road on the south of Limerick city on Monday.
According to sources, the Garda investigation is following several lines of enquiry, including that Mr Sheehy may have been followed after leaving a house near Hyde Road shortly before he was knocked down.
Gardaí are understood to be are investigating whether Mr Sheehy and another man may have exchanged words with one another at a house party shortly before the boxer left the house. A source said the pair had engaged in “a bit of banter” and “slagging”.
At a media briefing at Roxboro Road Garda station, Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche, who oversees Garda operations across the entire Limerick Division, called on the driver of a black English-registered Mitsubishi Shogun SUV that was found abandoned to make contact with gardaí. He also called for “calm” in the local community.
Gardaí do not believe Mr Sheehy was involved in criminality. He was due to become a father in five weeks, and, he had set his sights on representing Ireland in boxing at the 2024 Olympics.
Chief Supt Roche said gardaí were carrying out house-to-house enquiries and gathering CCTV footage from the area, including from any premises Mr Sheehy may have visited.
Chief Supt Roche said gardaí had recovered a vehicle which they believe was involved.
“It wasn’t burned out and it has been removed for a technical examination. The vehicle involved was a black SUV Mitsubishi with a partial reg WV 52.”
Chief Supt Roche said the car failed to remain at the scene and crossed the city after the incident. It was “found abandoned on the north side of the city near the Gaelic grounds, in a residential area”, he said.
He appealed for witnesses to contact gardaí locally or via the Garda Confidential Line. “I would also ask that the driver of this vehicle come to Roxboro Road Garda station or any Garda station, and talk to us about what happened,” he said.
Garda sources have confirmed they are monitoring all airports and ferry ports in the hunt for the driver.
The State Pathologist is due to conduct a postmortem on Mr Sheehy’s body at University Hospital Limerick on Tuesday.
Mr Sheehy, who was one of three siblings, is survived by his parents, Kevin and Tracey, his two sisters, and his fiancée Emma, who is pregnant.
Mr Sheehy’s boxing coach, Ken Moore, broke down as he paid tribute to the “very talented” Olympic hopeful.
“He was the type of kid you could make a hundred tributes to. He was loved by everyone. He was very, very talented,” Mr Moore said. “He had that X-factor. He’s the best fighter I’ve trained since Andy Lee.
“As an athlete, he was very special, he was five times Irish champion, he is a current under 22 champion, which he has held for the last two years, even though he is only 20 years of age.”
“He was tipped by Bernard Dunne High Performance as an athlete they were looking at for the 2024 Olympics. He had everything going for him. The guy was never in trouble a day in his life, even though he was from a rough area,” Mr Moore said.
He described the boxer’s death as “just senseless”.
“Boxing was his life and his life was changing because in five weeks time he was due to have a baby girl. He’s only 20, but he’s with Emma, his fiancée, since they were 15. They were having a baby and it was all set up good for them.”
“He was just a great kid, he really was. I loved him. It’s a sad day,” a tearful Mr Moore added.