Tributes have poured in for a former junior Republic of Ireland soccer player who Gardaí have confirmed died after being assaulted in Limerick city last night.
The victim, named locally as Alan Bourke (48) originally from St Mary’s Park, Limerick, 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 to allow a Garda crime scene unit carry out a forensic examination of the area.
Gardai were harvesting CCTV footage from the street and local premises, and appealed for anyone who may have “video footage or dash cam footage” of the alleged assault 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, 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 soccer level is 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, who has a number of children, 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.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Bourke’s former teammates and friends at Mungret Regional Club Chairman, Tony O’Byrne said:
“Alan was definitely a huge part of the team back then, he would have had scored 20 plus goals a season, he wore the club’s number 9 shirt, he was a real goal poacher, and he was a really talented player for the club.”
“He joined the club when he was 17 and played minor for two years under manager Dermot Doolan and went on to play junior under Pat Irwin, and 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 b y the then Mayor of Limerick, 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 had been 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 services of the office of State Pathologist to conduct a post-mortem.
“The scene is currently preserved to allow for a technical examination to take place. The Office of the State Pathologist has been notified and a post-mortem will be conducted later today,” said a Garda spokesman.
Appealing for information, the spokesman said: “Any person who was in the Parnell Street, Lord Edward Street and Davis Street areas of Limerick last night, between 10pm and 10:40pm, who may have camera footage of the area is asked to make this available to Gardaí. Similarly, if any road user was travelling in the area and who may have camera (including dash cam) footage is asked to make this available to investigating Gardaí.”
“Any person 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,” said the spokesman.