Heroic boy (13) Ricky Osagie who died after diving into pond to save two girls buried in Dublin
A standing ovation lasting several minutes filled a Dublin church at the removal service of hero schoolboy Ricky Osagie.
The entire congregation at St Patrick's Church in Corduff rose to their feet and applauded loudly when parish priest Fr Liam McClarey invited them to salute "a true hero".
Ricky (13) drowned in a courageous bid to save the lives of two teenage girls who got into difficulties while swimming in an artificial lake near the Waterville Hall residential complex in Blanchardstown yesterday week.
Paramedics tended to the two girls at the scene and also sought to resuscitate Ricky, who had been submerged for several minutes following his desperate rescue attempt.
The girls later recovered but Ricky died in hospital last Saturday.
Ricky was a star footballer for Corduff Football Club in the North Dublin Schoolboy League. The packed church was a sea of red jerseys as players and supporters of the Corduff club paid tribute to their young star. A guard of honour of club players flanked his coffin as it was brought into the church.
Fr McClarey, a Pallotine priest, welcomed members of the Nigerian community, teachers from the nearby St Patrick's primary school and St Declan's secondary school in Cabra, and people of other faiths to the church.
The congregation filled all standing areas in St Patrick's and overflowed into the car park.
Ricky's loved ones, friends, classmates, teammates and the entire community were "broken-hearted" at the loss of the gallant schoolboy who had given his life in the rescue attempt, said the priest. "A flag outside the church has the word 'hero' written on it. The word 'hero' will always remain with Ricky's memory," he said.
"We will all carry Ricky in our hearts."
Fr Cleary said that his teammates on the Under 13 team "will have to try harder and give that little bit extra for him".
He described Ricky as "friendly, bright, bubbly and charming".
He said the entire Corduff community were united by a single word - 'respect' - over the last few sad days.
He brought Ricky's parents Kelly and Lydia and sisters Temma and Omonigho on to the altar to stand and look at the huge size of the congregation who had turned out in honour of Ricky.
The parents received a lengthy round of applause as the priest said Ricky had obviously received his praiseworthy qualities from his mother and father.