A Limerick father who was fatally assaulted last week was remembered at his funeral today as having led a “great sporting life” culminating in playing soccer and rugby for Ireland.
Alan Bourke (48) from St Mary’s Park was found with critical injuries at Colbert Station Plaza, Parnell Street, Limerick City, around 10.25pm on April 15th.
Mr Bourke was regarded as a top-class sportsman, excelling at soccer, rugby and handball, parish priest at St Mary’s Church Fr Gerard O’Leary told mourners.
His soccer boots and his international and club jerseys were neatly laid together beside his coffin at the church altar.
“As you can see, there are symbols and elements of his great sporting life here on the altar with him, and it is an amazing feat of what he accomplished in his young life,” said Fr O’Leary.
Reading a tribute from the Bourke family, Fr O’Leary said: “Alan was the eldest of three children, he was a typical boy growing up in St Mary’s Park, and all the time he was playing sport - soccer, rugby, handball - every time you met him he would either be going to play a match or he’d be training.
“As a young boy and teenager he won lots of cups and medals, and any time he would arrive home with his latest trophy, he would show it to his proud parents, especially his late mother Chris, who would then visit his aunts and uncles and relatives and neighbours and friends to tell them ‘my Alan’ has won another trophy.
“This passion for sport continued through his teens which led him to being capped for the Irish U-18 rugby team, having played for St Mary’s RFC and then the Shannon rugby senior team.
“He joined Mungret Regional Football Club, winning a Munster Junior Cup in 1994; they were FAI Junior Cup finalists in 1996, and the Sam year he was capped for the Irish soccer team.
“Alan was always jolly and in great form, he had the gift of the gab, he was a fun-loving, outgoing, cheeky chappy, who would always see the funny side of everything. So, it is with these thoughts that we will remember him.”
Representatives from local sporting clubs, friends, and neighbours attended the funeral mass.
Fr O’Leary told mourners: “It's a very sad day for all of you gathered here for Alan’s funeral. Let us leave behind the bits and pieces of the last week and maybe just focus on himself and think of him and pray for him that now he is at peace.”
Mr Bourke was rushed by ambulance from the scene of the assault to University Hospital Limerick where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The former manager with a tool and machinery hire company had recently returned to his native Limerick after living for a period in Co Cork.
No arrests have been made, and gardaí have appealed for witnesses.
A Garda spokesman said: “Any person who was in the Parnell Street, Lord Edward Street and Davis Street areas of Limerick (Friday 15th April), between 10pm and 10.40pm, who may have camera footage of the area is asked to make this available to gardaí.
“Similarly, if any road user was travelling in the area and who may have camera (including dash cam) footage is asked to make this available to investigating gardaí.
“Any person with any information which may be relevant to the Garda investigation should contact Roxboro Road Garda station on 061 214 340, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.”
Pre-deceased by his mother Christina Bourke (nee Leamy), and survived by his father Mike, sister Diane, brother Barry, and son Matt, Mr Bourke was laid to rest in Castlemungret Cemetery.