IT is believed the man was assaulted by at least two other men -- and sustained fatal injuries during the brief but violent attack.
Gardai are now investigating whether the incident is linked to a long-standing dispute between two families in the area.
The Herald understands that the man was stabbed as well as being repeatedly punched and kicked in the head and torso. The beating continued even when the man had collapsed bleeding to the ground.
The man was also beaten and struck with a number of implements. He left the scene in a car with several other men and was brought to a nearby house.
Locals attempted to assist him before he was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Despite desperate efforts to stabilise the man's condition, he was pronounced dead a short time later. A full post-mortem examination was expected to be conducted later today. Two other men received treatment for non-life threatening injuries.
Togher gardai are investigating and stressed that the nature of their probe will be determined by the post mortem exam findings. However, detectives expected a murder probe to be launched later today.
Gardai are investigating whether the attack may be linked to an ongoing dispute between two families.
A relative of the dead man is understood to have suffered a serious assault two years ago and gardai are now trying to determine if the two incidents are linked.
The scene remained sealed off today as garda technical experts conducted a detailed forensic examination.
Gardai are now focusing their efforts on a search for the knife used in the attack. CCTV security footage will be studied to determine if those involved were captured on film.
"This is a particularly disturbing incident and we are appealing for anyone who may have information to contact us," a garda source said.
Locals today expressed shock at the tragedy.
"No one can believe it because it was such a quiet Christmas. This came totally out of the blue and everyone is shocked," one man said.