The victim of a suspected acid attack feared he would never be able to see again after he was left with severe facial burns.
Waterford teenager and Republic of Ireland youth international Tega Agberhiere is recovering in hospital and is expected to regain full sight in both eyes.
The 16-year-old was one of three victims targeted at Earlscourt in Waterford city at about 11pm on April 25.
Gardai said a number of youths were involved in the altercation.
Speaking about his ordeal from his hospital bed, the footballer said he thought he would never be able to see another thing in his life.
“I am feeling less pain now. I can see from both eyes, they are a little bit swollen so it’s hard to open them,” he told WLR radio in Waterford.
“The doctors said I should be able to see and that my vision will return to normal soon.
“I’m not sure if I will need skin grafts – I will have to give my skin a few weeks to heal first then I will find out.
“I am grateful for everyone that has sent text messages and saying nice things. It’s helped me get through everything.
“Every day I am getting better.”
He thanked the nurses and doctors at University Hospital Waterford, staff at Waterford Football Club, Villa Football Club in Waterford and Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, who all wished him well.
Four teenage boys were arrested on Saturday by gardai investigating alleged incidents of assault and violent disorder.
They were questioned at Waterford garda station and later released without charge. A file will be prepared for the director of public prosecutions.
Tega’s mother Christie also thanked staff at the hospital.
“They have been doing a great job with him,” she said.
Gardai have appealed for witnesses, particularly anyone who was in the Earlscourt area at the time of the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Waterford garda station on 051 305300 or the garda confidential line 1800 666111.
- Press Association