Scrambler and car activity on pitches threatens future of GAA club

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE chairman of Croí Ró Naofa GAA club in Killinarden has said that the future of the club could be in jeopardy, if issues with people on scrambler bikes and in cars destroying the club’s pitches in Killinarden Park are not resolved.

The club’s pitches were damaged last weekend, with tyre tracks having torn up the grass.

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 Damage caused to the pitches last weekend 

This is the fourth time this year that the club’s pitches have been vandalised, and home matches have had to be played away on numerous occasions as a result.

On Thursday morning, only days after the weekend's damage, another burnt out car was discovered on the club's pitches. 

According to a statement by the club: “This morning [Thursday, October 17] we got news that there was another burnt out car in Killinarden Park.

"Not just in the park, but on our club's senior pitch.

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Burnt out car on the pitches on Thursday morning

“The damage is quite serious and will render both our juvenile pitch and our senior pitch unplayable for the foreseeable future,”.

The club’s chairman, Tommy Clinton, estimates that over €800 has been spent this year on getting coaches for the club’s players to play away games that were originally scheduled to be played in Killinarden Park, but had to be played elsewhere as a result of the pitches being damaged.

Mr Clinton told The Echo: “This is a disaster. In April, we had to play most of our games away [because the pitches were damaged].

“We had to get coaches – but we don’t have the money to be getting the players coaches.

“At this stage, the players are fed up with having to always play away. We’ve been here 19 years now, and we’re battling against this every year.

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The pitches are wrecked in Killinarden Park

“You’re just kind of saying to yourself – ‘Is it worth it?’

“It’s just horrible. When we’re down there [in Killinarden Park], training 13 teams, there’s scramblers flying all around them.”

The pitches being destroyed this weekend is just the latest in a series of issues with anti-social behaviour in Killinarden Park, as 16 cars have been burnt out so far this year alone, on or near the pitches that Croí Ró Naofa use.

“If this keeps happening, we’ll have nowhere else to play,” explained Mr Clinton. “This is the club’s future. The future of the club could be in jeopardy if this isn’t resolved.”

Ideally, according to Mr Clinton, what the club would like is for South Dublin County Council to surround the club’s pitches with fences, in order to obstruct people on scramblers and in cars from gaining access.

SDCC - a meeting 'has been arranged' 

A spokesperson for South Dublin County Council told The Echo: “Following reports of scrambler activity in Killinarden Park, on Monday, October 14, South Dublin County Council inspected the damaged pitch areas and have scheduled the necessary re-instatement works, weather permitting.

“A meeting has been arranged by the council to take place next week with members of the Croí Ró Naofa GAA Club, council staff and An Garda Síochána in order to examine options.”

The spokesperson added that the council is taking a two-pronged approach to dealing with the issue of scramblers in parks in the county, to include erecting barriers to restrict the access of cars and scramblers in parks, and participating in a “high-level task force team” along with An Garda Síochana, the Department of Justice, and others to try to “advance a solution to this problem”.

“The council has approved the budget provision for a programme of works to install perimeter fencing and reinforce boundary treatment in a number of parks including the following: Bancroft Park, Butler Magee Park, Killinarden Park and Jobstown Park.”

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