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Vandals strike at Clara GAA pitch

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Vandals strike at Clara GAA pitch thumbnailMichael Sheridan, President Clara GAA Club pictured making some temporary repairs to the netting after the grounds fell victim to vandals recently. OH30-9-194358

THOUSANDS of euro worth of damage was caused to the GAA pitch in Clara last weekend when vandals apparently drove into the grounds through a field which is located at the bottom half of the facility.
The car went through the ball stop net and straight through the nets on the goal, pulling a metal goal stanchion out of its concrete base and mount on the goalpost and twisting the other one.
It appears that the goal nets were then dragged around the field presumably on the front of the car. Clara GAA say hand brake turns and tyre spinning is visible all over the pitch.
Gardai say the incident happened on the evening of the July 22 into July 23.
Officials were shocked when they arrived to see the amount of damage caused.
''We try to leave the gates open the whole time for walkers or runners. It's a safe place for people, but we will have to have a meeting now about it,'' said club secretary Padraig O'Meara.
''It's more financial pressure and an unexpected expense.'' he added.
Mr O'Meara said luckily the pitch was dry and consequently while the cars did considerable damage to the pitch itself, it could have been a lot worse if it was raining.
Gardai say they are following a line of enquiry regarding a vehicle but are appealing to anyone that has information to contact them at Tullamore Garda 0579327052.
Clara GAA issued a statement on Facebook saying how disappointed the club was with the damage done to its facilities at Pairc Phroinsias. ''We all volunteer in the club and its absolutely heart breaking to see the damage and blatant vandalism done at a place where most of us call our second home.
"Our facilities are left open most days to facilitate all our members and associate walking members so they can come and go as they please and walk in safety around the track at our grounds. We do not want to have to lock people and cars out because that is not what our association is about.''
''Fundraising is difficult in the current economic climate and we will now have to spend money repairing needless damage when this money could be better spent on coaching our many teams.
"Clara GAA club and its members are strong minded people and we will not let thugs/vandals or joy riders break us.''

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