By Damian Dolan
The family of murdered Hertfordshire Gaelic footballer Joe Deacy say they will “never give up” in their efforts to bring the killers of their “beautiful boy” to justice.
Joe, 21, died from head injuries after being discovered outside of the house in which he was staying in Gortnasillagh, near Swinford, in Co Mayo, in August 2017.
No one has ever been charged with Joe’s murder.
Joe was remembered last Saturday at St Albans Irish Club in Cotlandwick at a special Memorial Gaelic Football Match – attended by approximately 350 people – between Joe’s GAA club, St Colmcilles, and ‘Hammers GAA’ – a team made up of Joe’s family and friends.
Inside a special programme for the game, and on a huge banner, the family sent out a “message to Joe’s murders”.
They said: “The Gardaí have their suspicions. All of Joe’s family and friends have their suspicions.
“To those who did it…..you can continue to hide in broad daylight, but we will never give up until the day you give yourselves up.”
Joe had been socialising with friends in a pub in Kiltimagh on 11 August. The following morning, at approximately 6am a passing cyclist spotted his body outside of the house he was staying in, in Gortnasillagh, and alerted the emergency services.
He received attention from paramedics at the scene and was taken to Mayo University Hospital. However, he died the next day (13 August) after being transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
In November 2017, two men aged in their 20s were arrested by Gardaí but later released without charge.
In May 2018, a man in his 20s was detained at Claremorris Gardaí Station but was also subsequently released without charge.
An ‘update’ from Joe’s father, Adrian, mother, Alison and sister Charlotte said that Gardaí have now hit a “brick wall” in the investigation due to a lack of “concrete evidence”.
According to the family, Gardaí have recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the case file is to be left open until any further developments occur.
They added: “Nothing will bring our Joe back, nothing will ever remotely ease our family’s pain.
“Ours is a life sentence with no time off. Joe’s murderer(s) eventual punishment will not even scratch the surface of our misery, but justice needs to be served.
“Justice for Joe is therefore for everyone who loved him, everyone who knew him and for everyone who has been touched by his brutal. For them we hope the day of answers is sooner rather than later.”
Last year, more than 120 people travelled from Hertfordshire to mark the first anniversary of Joe’s death with a memorial Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Bohola, in Mayo.
Joe, whose grandfather came from Bohola, often visited the county and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Mayo football team, regularly travelling to Ireland to watch them play.
The inaugural Memorial Gaelic Football Match in Joe’s memory then took place at the Swinford Community Ground, with St Colmcilles taking on ‘The Hammers’.
The ‘The Hammers’ team wore a special jersey for the game with Joe’s name on the back.
This year, St Colmcilles won the cup with Joe’s father, Adrian, presenting the trophy to winning captain Tom Maloney.