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Teenager dies after pub brawl

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Teenage football player Patrick Cronin has died after a brawl at a pub in Melbourne’s north-east on the weekend.

Mr Cronin, 19, was assaulted outside The Windy Mile on Main Road, Diamond Creek, about 11:00pm on Saturday before he walked home, police said.

He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital but died on Monday afternoon, his family said in a statement.

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“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have just said goodbye to our beautiful boy,” the statement said.

“We take some comfort in the knowledge that Pat was able to donate his organs and help others in need.

“Our hearts are broken, but he will forever be in our hearts.”

Mr Cronin was at the pub after playing a match with Lower Plenty Football Club in his first senior game alongside his brother.

ABC

Teammates of Patrick Cronin gathered at the Lower Plenty Football Club on Monday. Photo: ABC

It is believed up to 30 people may have been involved and police are still investigating how it unfolded.

Grant Barden, the president of the Lower Plenty Football Club, said Mr Cronin’s parents, brother and sister were devastated.

“There is absolutely no way known that Patrick would be involved in anything like that [a fight], apart from being an innocent bystander,” he said.

“All we know is apparently a friend of his was knocked over as the two warring parties ran out the door and Pat bent over to pick him up and drag him out of harm’s way.

“And some clown decided to take Pat with it.”

Mr Barden said the club would work to provide support to the community.

“Saturday was the first time that Lucas and Patrick had played together, which was outstanding for the family,” he said.

“They were just so happy at 5:00pm, and then at 1:00am they were just so devastated.

Community outpouring of grief

There was an outpouring of sadness by friends and the wider community following the news of the assault.

Many of the 19-year-old’s friends and teammates gathered at the club hugging and supporting each other.

They stood arm-in-arm in a circle in the middle of the oval and released balloons into the air.

ABC

Patrick Cronin managed to walk from The Windy Mile but was later taken to hospital. Photo: ABC

Club coach Michael Ryan said Mr Cronin had played his “best senior game to date” on Saturday.

“It was his first senior footy game with his brother, so I know that was a great buzz for him and his family,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the Cronin family was well known at the club.

Team captain Darcey Barden said he was “gutted” for the family and the club.

“To sum it up as a captain, you wish you’d have 21 Patricks running out there with you,” he said.

“You wouldn’t have to worry about him, he’d go about his business as a footy player and it reflected what sort of person he was off-field.

“He was a little bit quiet and reserved, but once he got out of his skin no-one had a bad word to say about him. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body, everyone loved him.”

Mr Cronin’s former football club, Research Junior Football Club (RJFC), which is affiliated with Lower Plenty, gave its support to his family. His father was a former president of RJFC.

Police urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

*Note (18/04): An earlier version of this story stated Patrick had passed away, based on information supplied by police. Victoria Police later sent a correction stating the teenager remained on life support.

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