The father of an Irish football fan who died at the European Championships in Poland has paid tribute to the support his family has received from around the world.
Jimmy Nolan, from Blessington, spoke of the support received after his son James (21) died while following the Irish soccer team in 2012, according to the Irish Independent.
Mr Nolan also hailed former Irish captain Robbie Keane, who paid an emotional tribute to James while he was playing for LA Galaxy.
“From day one, Robbie has been absolutely fantastic,” Mr Nolan told ‘Wicklow This Week’ on East Coast FM.
James “was an absolute dedicated soccer fan. He loved soccer. He loved the Irish team, he followed them wherever he could,” Mr Nolan added.
Mr Nolan also said the level of support has been overwhelming: “Apart from even Wicklow, we got great support from our neighbours, friends and families and all throughout Wicklow and throughout the whole country, we got texts, messages, emails from England, Poland, America, we got communications from all over whole world. The local support and local help we got was fantastic.”
James went missing in June, 2012 in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz. His death shocked the nation, and An Garda Síochána sent a team over to assist in bringing James back home.
Mr Nolan spoke ahead of the launch of a new book – “40 Shades of Green” – which is being launched in memory of his son. The book is compiled by avid Ireland fan Eddie O’Mahony.
After James’ death, Mr O’Mahony also dedicated a website and online museum to the Wicklow man, Irelandsoccershirts.com.
He told the radio programme that the level of support shown to James’ family sums up Irish fans as a whole: “Within the Irish football community, people do stick together.”
300 copies of the book are available. “40 Shades of Green” can be purchased at www.faishop.com.