Heartbreak | 

Tragic Alan Bourke had lost his home weeks before assault and was living rough in Limerick

A source said Gardaí are investigating if an argument which began inside the station spilled out on to Parnell Street where Alan sustained a fatal blow.

Alan Bourke

Patrick O'Connell

A FORMER Republic of Ireland junior soccer player who was killed in an assault in Limerick on Friday was living homeless in the city since losing his accommodation in Mallow four weeks ago.

Father-of-two Alan Bourke (48), originally from St. Mary's Park in Limerick was the victim of a fatal assault outside Colbert Train station on Parnell Street at 10.25pm on Friday.

A source said Gardaí are investigating if an argument which began inside the station spilled out on to Parnell Street where Alan sustained a fatal blow.

It's believed a number of rugby fans, who had arrived in the city ahead of yesterday's rugby clash between Munster and Exeter, were in the area at the time.

Alan's best friend, Dylan Cleary, who lived with Alan on the streets for a period of three years, yesterday spoke of his heartbreak at his friend's death.

"I knew Alan the last seven years … we lived together on the streets for three of them," he said.

Outside Limerick's railway station where the fatal assault happened. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

"He was an alcoholic but he was a happy, jolly person as well.

"He had a son and a daughter and they meant the world to him. He had been doing better in recent times … we both were.

"We had both been in hospital at the same time and the last time I spoke to him was in the hospital four weeks ago.

"He had lost his accommodation in Mallow because another person living there had acted up and the landlord put them out.

Limerick victim Alan Bourke

"He was back on the streets in Limerick since. I had asked him to come to Tipperary to stay with me but he didn't want to come to Tipperary.

"Alan was my best friend and we did everything together. I'm heartbroken this has happened.

"He did have problems with alcohol and drugs but he was a good person. I just hope the Gardaí catch whoever did this to him."

Dylan said Alan had been a very talented footballer in his day but ultimately his addictions had cost him any prospects of a career in football.

Gardaí confirmed yesterday that paramedics were already at the scene when uniformed officers arrived; however, he was pronounced dead a short time later at University Hospital Limerick.

The street was cordoned off throughout Friday night and Saturday to allow a Garda forensic examination of the area.

Gardaí 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.

Alan was a talented striker with Mungret Regional FC, winning a Munster Junior Cup Final in 1994. He received his Irish cap in 1996 after helping his club to a FAI junior cup final the same year.

Regional club chairman, Tony O'Byrne said yesterday: "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.

"He was on the 1994 Munster junior cup-winning team that were also FAI Cup runners up in 1996. Alan had exceptional talent, and he is a great loss to his football family, may he rest In peace."

Gardaí said they had contacted the services of the office of State Pathologist to conduct a post-mortem.

Gardaí in Roxboro Road are appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.

A spokesperson 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.

Any person with any information which may be relevant to the investigation should contact Roxboro Road Garda Station on 061 214 340, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station."

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