A YOUNG Irish sports star was recovering today after suffering a broken bone during a late night attack in Australia.
Former Kildare minor footballer Paul Cribbin (19) was bashed by thugs after a night out with family and friends in Melbourne.
The Aussie Rules star also lost two front teeth in the attack in the early hours of Sunday.
It emerged today that Cribbin had earlier spent the night socialising with his family, who travelled over from Kildare to visit him. After saying goodbye to his family, he subsequently went out with friends after which the assault occurred.
After leaving a Melbourne nightspot, Cribbin was punched in the face in what police believe was an unprovoked attack.
Melbourne police were today hunting three men believed to be responsible for the assault.
The Kildare man, who plays for well-known club Collingwood, was due to be questioned by officers today.
It is understood that Cribbin was with another Irish man, fellow Collingwood player Caolan Mooney, when he was attacked shortly after 2am.
He was treated at the scene before being taken to Melbourne's St Vincent's hospital.
The young player has since told his club that he was walking through the street when he was pushed against a wall and punched in the face.
Collingwood, nicknamed 'The Magpies', has condemned the attack as unprovoked, but admitted that their star was under the influence of alcohol.
"It is, unfortunately, the issues that happen at that time of the morning anywhere in the world," club president Eddie McGuire said. "They shouldn't have been out anyway and again it's the old motto: nothing good happens after 1am."
Mr McGuire explained: "He'd been out saying goodbye to his parents who were flying back to Ireland and then he went out with his mates." Cribbin, who joined the club in 2010, is set to have to explain why he was out so late to club officials and could face disciplinary action.