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horror stabbing ‘He wouldn’t have even been there’ - tragic Josh Dunne's coach says teen would have been training except for lockdown

Josh Dunne's distraught managers Mark Tierney and Gerry Reddy have said he was a great kid who had the potential to be future footballing star.

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Josh was a talented footballer who played for a number of top Dublin underage clubs including St Kevin’s Boys

Josh was a talented footballer who played for a number of top Dublin underage clubs including St Kevin’s Boys

Josh was a talented footballer who played for a number of top Dublin underage clubs including St Kevin’s Boys

TALENTED footballer Josh Dunne was a great kid who would have been at football training when he was fatally stabbed if Covid hadn’t shut down sports in Ireland, his distraught club managers said this afternoon.

The 16-year-old from Ballymun passed away in hospital after suffering serious injuries in an assault which occurred on the East Road, East Wall, in the north-inner city last night.

Another teenager was also seriously injured during the incident which is also believed to have involved a Deliveroo driver and gardai have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Josh was a talented footballer who played for a number of top Dublin underage clubs including St Kevin’s Boys.

His distraught managers Mark Tierney and Gerry Reddy have said he was a great kid who had the potential to be future footballing star.

They said they were still waiting to hear full details of what happened but had been told he intervened after someone else was being attacked.

Mark told the Sunday World that Josh would have been training with St Kevin’s last night had Covid not shut down football in Ireland.

“These kids can’t even train now with Covid. The whole thing is a mess.

"They have nothing to do. At 9pm last night we would have been training.

"We train Tuesdays and Thursdays. Josh would have been training last night and wouldn’t have even been there.

"I know we need to lockdown and be safe but the kids have nothing to do and they’re roaming around.”

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Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

Mark said Josh was not the sort of kid to start any trouble and slammed speculation that he had any involvement in an attack on Deliveroo driver.

However, he does believes he may have intervened in a situation to stop someone getting attacked.

“When the new broke last night and we heard stuff I thought I couldn’t see Josh attacking a Deliveroo driver. He wouldn’t.

"He was a tough lad but he wasn’t a lad who would do the likes of that.

"I don’t know the full story but I’m hearing that he wasn’t directly involved. I hope his name is cleared to show that he wasn’t the one who started anything.”

He said Josh was a brave kid who would go to someone’s aid if they were in trouble.

"Josh was as brave as a lion and he’d step in for somebody if they were in trouble.

"I’ve seen it with him on the pitch and over the years.

"He’d step in if he seen a teammate or somebody in any bother and he’d put himself on the line and that’s probably what happened.

“He was an absolutely fantastic kid over the last number of years and never gave us any trouble like that. He would stand up for himself and wouldn’t let anyone mess around with him on the pitch but that’s understandable.”

Josh had previously had trials at Scottish club Dundee United and likely would have gone to play for them except for a paperwork technicality delayed the process.

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Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

Mark said he also had the potential to make it in England.

“This Covid has stopped so many players with no football being played and he was one who had a serious opportunity of doing something in the game - whether it be in the League of Ireland or across the water. He had the talent.

“We knew he was a talent and took him in and straight away he was the best player on the team.”

Two weeks ago Josh’s mother Diane called Mark to see when he training would start again.

“I asked how is he and she said: ‘he’s still giving me cheek anyway so he’s grand’.

"It’s so sad that two weeks later this happened."

Mark said Josh was always great craic and the centre of attention and everyone at the club has been left devastated at his death.

Gerry Redden said Josh was a player with natural talent and pace which could have seen him rise to the top of the game.

“He was certainly one of the best players in Ireland and there’s no doubt about that. I think he would have gone on to much better things if he had lived."

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Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

Josh Dunne

He added that he was also extremely popular with teammates and loved to make people laugh.

“He was a nice kid as well. He was funny.

"He used to tell us all the girls were after him in Ballymun and things like that. We used to have good fun with him.

“Some lads would be quiet but Josh would always be telling jokes. You’d always know when he was there.

“I had a really good relationship with him and would have great craic with him. He’d be calling me an old man and that type of stuff."

He said it was tragic that had Covid not put the country in lockdown Josh would have been training last night.

“The saddest thing of the whole lot is this Covid thing. If we were still playing football we would have been training last night when it happened.

“You don’t want kids on the streets.

"He’d be training two nights with us and playing on the weekend and sometimes there’d be midweek games.

"There was always something to keep focused on but since March of last year there has been nothing.

“There was a period when we were training but not playing games but try and keep 16-year-olds focused when there is no game at the weekend. Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

He said it’s important that people know how good of a person Josh was.

“We don’t know the full details of what happened but we want people to know the good side of this kid. He was a good kid who had talent to burn and certainly had a future in football.”

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