TRIBUTES have been paid to a former junior international soccer player who died after being assaulted in Limerick City last night.
The victim, named locally as 48 year-old Alan Bourke, a native of St Mary’s Park, was found with serious injuries at Parnell Street around 10.25pm.
Paramedics tried valiantly to keep the former talented sportsman alive at the scene, however he was pronounced dead a short time later at University Hospital Limerick.
The street was cordoned off by Gardaí throughout Friday night and to allow a scenes of crime unit carry out a forensic examination of the area.
Gardaí are collecting CCTV footage from the street and local premises and have appealed for anyone who may have video or dash cam footage of the incident to make it available to them.
Mr Bourke, who was a talented striker with Mungret Regional FC in the 1990s, was found seriously injured a short distance from a tool and equipment store where he had previously worked as a manager.
Limerick soccer correspondent Mike Aherne said there was widespread shock across the city’s district league soccer family.
“Alan was synonymous with the glory days of Mungret Regional and was regarded as one of the leading strikers in the league, for which he got richly deserved recognition, culminating in being capped for the Republic of Ireland junior soccer team.
“Being capped for his country, even at junior level was a hugely prestigious honour and everyone in Limerick soccer will remember Alan firstly as a goal scorer, he was a cracking striker, may he Rest In Peace.
“He was the main man for Mungret Regional in the 1990s, a real class act, and it’s so sad what has happened,” he added.
Mr Bourke helped secure many great victories for Mungret Regional, including a Munster Junior Cup Final win in 1994. He received his Irish cap in 1996 after helping his club to a FAI junior cup final the same year.
Mungret Regional Club Chairman, Tony O’Byrne said: “Alan was definitely a huge part of the team back then, he scored over 20 goals a season. He was a real goal poacher and a really talented player for the club.”
“He joined Regional when he was 17 and played minor for two years under manager Dermot Doolan and went on to play junior under Pat Irwin. He was on the 1994 Munster junior cup winning team that were also FAI Cup runners up in 1996. The team were awarded a Civic Reception by the then Mayor Jan O’Sullivan.”
“Alan had exceptional talent, and he is a great loss to his football family, may he rest in peace,” Mr O’Byrne said.
Friends of Mr Bourke, who had spent time living in Cork, said he had “fallen on hard times” and was quite vulnerable in recent years.
“I’m in deep shock, Alan was a lovely guy, it’s a real shock this has happened,” one friend added.
Gardaí said they were “investigating all the circumstances surrounding the fatal assault” and had contacted the office of State Pathologist to conduct a post mortem.
Anyone with any information which may be relevant to the Garda investigation should contact Roxboro Road Garda Station on 061 214 340, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.”
No arrests have been made at this stage, investigations are ongoing.