NEWS 7/8/2018 Pictured at Bandon before the Hamilton high school grads ball at the Rochestown Park hotel was Aoife Minihan and Cameron Blair. Picture Denis Boyle

It is every parent's worst nightmare: a young man's life tragically cut short at just 20.

That is how the Bishop of Cork summed up the appalling tragedy that saw a family robbed of a son and a brother. 

Communities in Cork and Bandon are stunned after 20-year-old Cameron Blair, an engineering student at CIT, was killed in a shocking knife attack on Thursday night on Bandon Road in Cork city.

Gardaí have launched a murder investigation and have started door-to-door enquiries. They are harvesting CCTV and have combed nearby green areas in the hopes of finding crucial evidence.

Mr Blair, originally from Ballinascarthy in west Cork, was fatally injured when he was slashed in the neck after a row broke out at a house party on Bandon Road shortly after 9pm on Thursday night.

A number of people attempted to gatecrash the party and were asked to leave. It is believed that up to six people may have tried to force their way into the house, which is situated next to the Post Office on Bandon Road.

A row broke out between some of those in the house and some of those who had attempted to force their way. Mr Blair was injured in the neck as he stood in the doorway.

He staggered into the street after being wounded. He collapsed on the roadway and friends raised the alarm. He was attended to by paramedics at the scene before being rushed to Cork University Hospital, where he died a short time later.

A post-mortem examination has taken place but the results are not being released for operational reasons.

The street remained sealed off to traffic on Friday morning to allow forensic investigators to access the property.

They have asked people who may have been in the area to share dashcam footage.

Specifically, people in the Bandon Road area between 8pm and 10pm who witnessed anything are asked to come forward.

Search teams were also combing overgrown green areas nearby at O'Donovan Rossa Road as part of their efforts.

Investigators warned those who may have filmed the events not to post images on social media or to share the clips but to instead contact gardaí.

In the hours after his shocking death, the 20-year-old from Ballinascarty was fondly remembered by those who knew him. They recalled his sporting prowess and his "boyish smile and joy of life".

Mr Blair had attended two secondary schools in Bandon and had represented the town's rugby and athletics clubs with distinction.

Dan Murphy, president of Bandon Rugby Club, said Mr Blair was "a popular member" of the club. He was due to play with the club's second team in a league match last night.

"Cameron's boyish smile and joy of life left a real indelible mark on anyone he met or any team he played on," Mr Murphy said.

"He played as he spoke, full of confidence and was a delight to see running full tilt with a rugby ball."

On Friday morning, shocked locals were struggling to piece together how such a thing could happen. 

One local described it as "a gruesome, horrible incident", while others said it is "senseless and heartbreaking". The sense of shock was clear on the street, with many struggling to comprehend the scale of what happened.

Mick Finn, a local councillor and resident of nearby Friar Street, said the tragic incident has robbed a family "of a son and a brother", while Dr Barry O'Connor, CIT president, said it is "an appalling tragedy for a young man in the prime of his life."

The entire CIT community is in shock at the incident, he said.

CIT is to provide counselling and other supports to students affected by the shocking incident.

"He was a very popular young man, an excellent student, and it's a terrible tragedy," Dr O'Connor said.

"It's just an appalling tragedy for a young man in the prime of his life. To have someone cut down in the prime of his life is appalling."

The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Paul Colton, had earlier recalled how he had known Cameron and had confirmed him in St Peter's Church in Bandon in 2013.

"My wife, Susan, and I share the shock of everyone who lives in this neighbourhood, particularly the student community who are so much at the heart of this area," he said.

"Having had student children myself, I know well that a calamity such as this on a night out is every parent’s worst nightmare. My heart goes out to the Blair family, especially Cameron’s parents Noel and Cathy, and his brother Alan; as well as to Cameron’s wide circle of friends and peers, and indeed everyone who has been traumatised by what happened on the Bandon Road last night."

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