herald

Friday 23 February 2018

'James would be first up for Denmark tickets', says father of tragic fan

Jimmy and Essie Nolan with a photo of their son James
Jimmy and Essie Nolan with a photo of their son James

The father of an Irish football fan who died at the European Championships in Poland has said his son would have been first in the queue for a ticket for Ireland's upcoming World Cup play-off clash with Denmark.

Jimmy Nolan spoke of how his family received support from around the world after his 21-year-old son James died while following the Boys in Green in 2012.

Emotional

Mr Nolan also hailed former Irish captain Robbie Keane, who paid an emotional tribute to the Wicklow man while he was playing for US outfit LA Galaxy.

"From day one, Robbie has been absolutely fantastic," Mr Nolan told Wicklow This Week on East Coast FM.

"James never missed a match. He was an absolutely dedicated soccer fan.

"He loved soccer. He loved the Irish team, he followed them wherever he could."

James went missing in June 2012 in Bydgoszcz. His death shocked the nation and cast a cloud over Ireland's campaign.

An Garda Siochana sent a team over to the city to help in bringing James home.

Mr Nolan was speaking ahead of the launch of a new book - 40 Shades of Green - which is being launched in memory of his son. The book has been compiled by avid Ireland fan Eddie O'Mahony.

Mr Nolan said the support the family has received has been overwhelming.

"It was fantastic. We got great support from our neighbours, friends and families and all throughout Wicklow and throughout the whole country," he said.

"We got texts, messages, emails, from England, Poland, America, we got commu- nications from all over whole world. The local support and local help we got was fantastic."

Generations

Mr Nolan said the book is something that can be passed down to future generations.

After James' death, Mr O'Mahony dedicated a website and online museum - Irelandsoccershirts.com - to the young Wicklow man.

He said the level of support shown to James' family sums up Irish fans as a whole.

"Within the Irish football community, people do stick together," said Mr O'Mahony.

Only 300 copies of the book are available. It can be bought from faishop.com

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