A MASKED man tried to abduct an eight-year-old boy as he played in a Dublin park.
Gardai have launched an investigation amid fears that the man – who tried to snatch the child at St Anne’s Park in Raheny – may strike again.
The young child was kicking a football around while his brother played an underage game when a balaclava-clad man leapt from undergrowth and tried to grab him.
The incident took place on Sunday, February 27, while the older brother’s game was under way.
His father, who was watching his other son playing in the match, was horrified when the boy told him that a strange man had tried to kidnap him.
“He was playing around with a ball on an opposite pitch 100 yards away from us when a man came out of the bushes wearing a balaclava and shouted ‘Get over here you',” the shocked dad told the Herald.
“He was just kicking a ball around in plain sight when this guy tried to grab him.
“We are just relieved he got away and thank God he was smart enough to turn and run.
“He got a fright, we all did.”
The brave youngster has recovered from the incident and showed the courage to assist gardai with their enquiries.
“Last weekend he went to another one of his brother's games and he stuck to us like glue,” Paul added.
“He was very shaken up but after a few days he was back to normal.
“We reported the incident to the gardai and he gave a description of the man who tried to grab him.
“Something like this has never happened to us before and it really sent a chill down our spines.”
There were a large number of children and adults in the area at the time of the incident and Raheny gardai are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.
The victim told gardai that his attempted attacker was wearing blue jeans, a dark brown top and a black jacket. He had his face covered with a balaclava.
The man is believed to have fled the scene driving off in a wine-coloured transit van which was parked on Howth Road in Raheny.
The shocking incident is being investigated by officers from Raheny Garda Station, who can be contacted at 01 6664300.
A spokesperson for Raheny United told the Herald that their manager was approached by the manager from the opposition team who told him of the incident.
“Their manager told us that someone had tried to abduct a young boy while the match was going on,” he said.
“We will certainly be extra vigilant in the future when it comes to something like this.”
A garda spokesperson told the Herald that the incident had been reported to them and they are investigating.