A promising Irish footballer who had trials with Scottish top-flight side Dundee United has been stabbed to death in a Dublin street attack while trying to defend a delivery driver.
Josh Dunne, 16, died in hospital after suffering serious injuries during an assault in Dublin’s north inner city on Tuesday night.
The centre-forward had recently gone for trials with Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership and had caught the eye of several other clubs.
Josh was trying to defend a delivery driver who was being attacked by other teenagers, according to reports.
A friend at the crime scene told Dublin Live: ‘Josh was the nicest lad you could ever meet. I just can’t believe he’s been taken away from us, it doesn’t seem real.’
Josh represented a number of clubs in Dublin, including St Kevin’s Boys, Tolka Rovers and Bohemians.
Josh Dunne (pictured), 16, died in hospital after suffering serious injuries during an assault in Dublin’s north inner city on Tuesday night
The centre-forward had recently gone for trials with Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership and had caught the eye of several other clubs
A coach from St Kevin’s said: ‘Can’t believe Josh is gone, such a fantastic kid and it would be Josh to go and help somebody been attacked he was a brave lion.’
St Kevin’s public relations officer, Neil Fox, said: ‘He was a great footballer. He’d stepped up to the rank of League of Ireland through our partnership with Bohemians and Kevin’s.
‘I’d seen him play many times. A very skilful, very quick, tricky little player. He was away on a trial a couple of months ago with Dundee United.
‘There were a couple of other clubs looking at him. So he was definitely going on the right track regarding football.’
Mr Fox said Josh was a ‘lovely, bubbly guy’ and the club was in shock. He added: ‘I met him a few times, coming in and out of the club. I would have taken a lot of photographs for the club, so I would have gotten to know the guy.
‘I’m in shock in myself, I just can’t believe what happened. It’s a terrible tragedy for his family and friends and everyone that knows him. Sixteen years of age, it’s so young that a guy has been taken away like that. It’s unbelievable.’
He represented a number of clubs in Dublin, including St Kevin’s Boys, Tolka Rovers and Bohemians
In a statement on Twitter, Bohemians FC said: ‘Everyone at Bohemians is devastated to learn of the death of Bohs-SKB player Josh Dunne in tragic circumstances.
‘Josh was a talented young footballer who will be sadly missed by former teammates and coaches. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.’
An online fundraiser to support Josh’s family raised more than €10,000 in just five hours on Wednesday.
The Balgriffin Inn, the restaurant where Josh’s brother worked, posted a tribute to its Facebook page. It read: ‘Today we were devastated to learn of the tragic passing of Josh Dunne. Josh’s brother works as a chef with us in The Balgriffin and we are gutted beyond words for him and his family. Bad things just always seem to happen to good people.
‘We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Dean & all of the Dunne family. Should anyone wish to show their support, there is a GoFundMe page set up to help the family out in these awful times. Any help would be greatly appreciated.’
Cork City FC posted: ‘The thoughts of all at Cork City are with Josh’s friends and family at this sad time.’
Gardai, Irish police, have launched a murder investigation following the assault.
The incident took place at around 9.20pm on Tuesday night in East Road, East Wall, north Dublin. Gardai were alerted to a public order incident, and attended the scene along with emergency services.
An online fundraiser to support Josh’s family raised more than €10,000 in just five hours on Wednesday. Gardai, Irish police, have launched a murder investigation following the assault. Pictured, Josh playing for Bohemians FC
Josh and another juvenile male were taken to the Mater Hospital to be treated for serious injuries. Josh was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.
A third person, an adult male, later went to Mater Hospital to be treated for his injuries. A post-mortem was carried out on Wednesday afternoon at the City Morgue by Dr Heidi Okkers, locum assistant state pathologist.
A family liaison officer has been appointed and continues to liaise with the family.
The two males, an adult and a juvenile, remain in hospital receiving medical attention.
The scene has been preserved for investigations and Gardai said the stabbing happened following an incident involving a group of people in the East Wall area.
Gardai are appealing for witnesses, particularly anyone who was in the East Road area between 9pm and 9.40pm on Tuesday.