Garda inquiries continue as Limerick fatal assault victim buried

The coffin of fatal assault victim Alan Bourke is shouldered out of St Mary’s Church, Athlunkard Street after his funeral Mass

A LIMERICK father who died after being assaulted last week was remembered at his funeral today (Friday) as having led a “great sporting life” culminating in playing soccer and rugby for Ireland.

48-year-old Alan Bourke from St Mary’s Park was found fatally injured at Colbert Station Plaza in Limerick City, around 10.25pm, on Good Friday, April 15.

It’s understood he sustained a fatal blow to his head, however Gardaí have “for operational reasons” declined to release details of a post mortem conducted by State pathologist Dr Sally Anne Collis.

No arrests have been made, and Gardaí have declined to comment on whether or not they are looking to question one person or a group of people in connection with the fatal assault.

Mr Bourke was regarded as a top class sportsman, excelling at soccer, rugby and handball, Fr Gerard O’Leary, parish priest St Mary’s Church, told mourners.

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His soccer boots and his international and club jerseys, were laid together beside his coffin.

“There are symbols and elements of his great sporting life here on the altar with him, and it is an amazing feat of what he accomplished in his young life,” said Fr O’Leary.

Reading a tribute from the Bourke family, Fr O’Leary said: “Alan was the eldest of three children. He was a typical boy growing up in St Mary’s Park, and all the time he was playing sport – soccer, rugby and handball.  Every time you met him he would either be going to play a match or he’d be training.”

“As a young boy and teenager he won lots of cups and medals, and any time he would arrive home with his latest trophy, he would show it to his proud parents, especially his late mother Chris, who would then visit his aunts and uncles and relatives and neighbours and friends to tell them ‘my Alan’ has won another trophy.

“This passion for sport continued through his teens which led him to being capped for the Irish U-18 rugby team, having played for St Mary’s RFC and then the Shannon rugby senior team.

“He joined Mungret Regional Football Club, winning a Munster Junior Cup in 1994. They were FAI Junior Cup finalists in 1996, and the same year he was capped for the Irish soccer team.

“Alan was always jolly and in great form, he had the gift of the gab, he was a fun-loving, outgoing, cheeky chappy, who would always see the funny side of everything. So, it is with these thoughts that we will remember him.”

Representatives from local sporting clubs, friends, and neighbours attended the funeral mass.

Fr O’Leary told mourners: “It’’s a very sad day for all of you gathered here for Alan’s funeral. Let us leave behind the bits and pieces of the last week and maybe just focus on himself and think of him and pray for him that now he is at peace.”

Pre-deceased by his mother Christina, Alan Bourke is survived by his father Mike; sister Diane; brother Barry, and son Matt.

He was laid to rest in Castlemungret Cemetery.