GARDAI are expected to launch a murder investigation after a teenager who was attacked by a gang of youths died in hospital last night.
Niall Dorr (18), who had been planning to do a bungee jump for charity in the coming weeks, sustained serious injuries after being subjected to a vicious assault less than three kilometres from his home.
It is believed that Niall was with two friends and walking along Castle Road in Dundalk, Co Louth, when they became involved in an altercation with another group of seven people, including a woman, between 9pm and 9.20pm on Wednesday night.
Gardai arrested two men, aged 21 and 23 years, on suspicion of assault causing harm. They are being held in Dundalk garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
Officers were investigating claims that Niall had been beaten with an implement, possibly a bar, but sources said he did not have any injuries which showed signs of being inflicted with a weapon.
A knife was also recovered, but it was unclear if any knife-related injuries were sustained. Gardai also recovered a "block" used for sharpening knives.
Gardai are awaiting the result of a post-mortem examination to determine the exact cause of the teenager's death.
A kickboxing champion, he sustained head and face injuries and was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
Just hours before the vicious assault, Niall had attended an interview for the Army. He had already passed a fitness test.
Earlier on the day of the attack, Niall had written on his Facebook page: "Army interview went well."
An avid athlete, he had planned a bungee jump in the coming weeks along with five friends to raise funds for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
They were out collecting sponsorship money for the event and they planned to set a date for the jump when they reached their target.
Niall was originally brought by ambulance to the Lourdes hospital after the attack.
He was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, but then transferred back to the Drogheda hospital, where he was put on a life-support machine.
His only sibling, Shane (20), and his parents David and Veronica were at his bedside yesterday. They live in the quiet Avondale Park estate on the outskirts of the town. Gardai are now appealing for witnesses to the attack and are seeking to determine a motive.
It appears that he was the only person to sustain any serious injury in the attack, which occurred in a quiet area.
One resident said his neighbour told him she had seen a man being beaten up against a car on the street, and when she shouted 'stop', she was told she would be next.
Patricia McQuillan, coach and founder of Cobra-Kan kickboxing club in Dundalk, said Niall was a "dedicated" athlete. Gardai are trying to contact a motorist who reported the incident. They are appealing to anyone who may have been in the Castle Road area of Dundalk between 9.00pm and 9.30pm on Wednesday night or anyone who may have any information to contact them at Dundalk Garda station on 042-9388400 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.