An investigation is under way into a suspected homophobic attack in Dublin at the weekend, which left a young man hospitalised.

Rugby player Evan Somers, 23, said he suffered a broken eye socket and two fractures to his ankle after he left a club near Dame Street in the city centre early on Sunday morning.

He said that a man taunted him with homophobic slurs before attacking him.

Gardaí have appealing for witnesses to contact them.

Mr Somers' rugby team, the Emerald Warriors, said they were devastated and shocked following the news of the attack.

The Irish Rugby Federation said it stood shoulder to shoulder with Mr Somers and said violence and homophobia has no place in our society.

Mr Somers' aunt, Tamara Somers, said her nephew was saddened by the attack but said many messages of support has helped him through.

She also said while it is clear much progress has been made in recent years recognising gay rights, it is clear there is some way to go.

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he is appalled, and shocked that an assault of that nature would occur in Dublin.

The Minister for Justice described the attack as a vicious and targetted assault and said it should not have happened.

Helen McEntee also said the question of gardaí on the streets and ensuring attacks like it do not happen is something she is very conscious of and has spoken to the Garda Commissioner about it several times.

She also wished Mr Somers well.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Advocacy and Policy Officer with the national LGBT Federation NXF Adam Long said that violent attacks of this nature are frequent and on the rise, adding that Ireland is an outlier in Europe because it has no hate crime legislation.

"Evan is extraordinarily brave in sharing his ordeal, because I think part of the more sinister nature of hate crime is that it targets somebody's identity and it seeks to silence victims and to shame victims. We really do commend Evan for speaking out."

Last night a stranger called me a faggot before beating the shit out of me. He left me with a fractured eye socket, 2 fractures in my ankle, a dislocation in my ankle & some other minor injuries. We've come a long way but still have such a long way to go in terms of equality.

— Evan (@ebintosh) April 10, 2022

Gardaí said they are investigating the circumstances of the assault, including any hate-related motivation.

Mr Somers was taken to St James's Hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.