Tributes to ‘selfless’ Izzy Dezu (16) who died during football match

Shelbourne academy striker collapsed during game against St Kevin’s Boys on Tuesday

A teenager who died during a football match in Dublin has been described as a “fantastic” young man.

Izzy Dezu collapsed while playing for Shelbourne FC in a Dublin and District Schoolboys League (DDSL)under-16 match against St Kevin's Boys on Tuesday night.

Paramedics from Dublin Fire Brigade assisted Izzy at the Athletic Union League (AUL) complex before he was taken to at Beaumont Hospital and pronounced dead.

In a statement Shelbourne FC said: “We are heartbroken to have to confirm the news that our academy U16 player, Izzy Dezu, collapsed and died during a match last night.


“The thoughts of everyone at Shelbourne FC are with his family and friends who have been devastated by his tragic loss. May he rest in peace.”

Davie Collins, who was Izzy’s coach for four years while he played for Cherry Orchard FC up until last year, described him as a “fantastic, selfless” person.

“If you wanted a young lad with an attitude for sports you couldn’t find a better kid. He would always run his socks off, always played for the team,” he said.

Mr Collins said the Cherry Orchard FC team were a tight knit group of around 15 players who had been together for five years, with Izzy playing as a striker.

“We were a band of brothers … All really tight. It’s tragic.”

Mr Collins said Izzy’s father would always travel “the length and breadth of the country” to come watch the team’s matches. His parents are originally from Cameroon but Izzy and his siblings were raised in Ireland.

Izzy was a fifth year student at Holy Family Community School in Rathcoole in west Dublin, which was close to where his family lived.

Brenda Kelly, the school principal said “the whole school community is deeply saddened and shocked” by Izzy’s death.

“The school would like to express its sincere gratitude for the many offers of help and support it has received. The school’s staff, with the advice of the National Educational Psychological Service, is supporting students at this very sad time,” she said.


Clinton Sulaiman, one of Izzy’s teammates while he played for Cherry Orchard, said he was “never angry” and a “very enthusiastic” person.

“We played the same position; striker. I remember when I joined the team he was injured, but he wasn’t angry, he was pushing me to be better and encouraging me,” Mr Sulaiman said.

Kevin O’Reilly , another teammate and close friend of Izzy’s, said the deceased was the life of any room he walked into, and was always playing music or messing in the changing room after training.

“He was the nicest person I’ve ever met,” he said.

President Michael D Higgins issued a statement to say “it is with great sadness” that he heard of Izzy’s death, describing him as “a brilliant young member” of Shelbourne’s academy.

“To his family, fellow players, friends and to Shelbourne FC I offer my sympathy at their tragic loss,” he said.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said there would be a special tribute to Izzy at the next men’s senior football international in the Aviva Stadium.

FAI chief executive John Delaney said “everyone involved in Irish football is deeply saddened by the loss of Izzy Dezu at such a young age, particularly in these tragic circumstances”.

St Kevin’s Boys FC, who Izzy was playing against when he collapsed, extended its condolences to the Dezu family and Izzy’s friends.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times