Gardaí continue to investigate damage caused to the pitch at Clara GAA club over the weekend. On Saturday night, July 22, a car was effectively rallied around the playing surface, causing damage to goal nets and ball stop nets.
Clara GAA club have now responded to the damage, describing it as "very disappointing." "The car was driven straight up through the bottom pitch through the ball stop net and straight through the nets on the goal. It pulled one metal goal stanchion out of its concrete base and mount on the goalpost and twisted the other one," a statement read.
They say the goal nets were then dragged around the pitch, adding that handbrake turns and tyre spinning marks are visible all over the pitch. "The good weather and hard ground saved more permanent damage to a certain extent. The pictures don't fully reflect the harm that was done," they added.
"We all volunteer in the club and its absolutely heartbreaking to see the damage and blatant vandalism done at a place 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," the Clara GAA statement from Secretary Pádraig O'Meara read.
"Fundraising is difficult in the current economic climate and we will now have to spent money repairing needless damage when this money could be better spent on coaching our many teams," he added.
"Clara GAA club and its members are strong minded people and we will not let thugs or joy riders break us."
Gardaí have told the Offaly Express they are "following a definite line of enquiry," and urged any one with information to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057-9327052.
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