Anger as U13 Offaly hurling match is 'locked out' of fixed venue
A number of parents have expressed anger after a mix-up left an U13 A hurling semi-final effectively locked out of the venue it had been fixed for by Offaly County Board.
The U13 A hurling semi-final between Tullamore and St. Rynagh's had been fixed to take place at Rath at 6.15pm last Friday evening, September 14. When both teams arrived it was discovered that the main gate to the ground and the dressing room doors were locked.
One disgruntled parent explained to the Offaly Express, "No officials from Drumcullen were there, the pitch wasn't marked out, there were no flags out. The dressing rooms were locked and remained locked for the duration of the game, and there was no access for an ambulance if a child got hurt with the big gates locked."
The referee arrived to officiate the game and players, team officials and spectators made their way into the ground using a pedestrian gateway.
The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, added, "The referee arrived and the game went ahead but there was an issue of access for an ambulance if a child needed one. The children had to get changed outside, and it wasn't a nice evening."
"I just think in 2018, it's not on," the parent fumed. "In this day and age, it's not acceptable for children to have to get dressed outside for a county semi-final, or a game at any level for that matter."
The parent alleged that a phone call was made and that someone "was supposed to come and open the dressing rooms but that person never showed up."
"From a parents point of view, the children go training all year, they're interested in the sport, and they don't deserve to have to go and play in those conditions."
"At the end of the day, if they couldn't host the game, they couldn't host it, but they should have contacted the county board and a decision should have been made to change the venue."
In response to a request to clarify the situation from the Offaly Express, a spokesperson for Offaly GAA said: "This was a case of a genuine mix-up. There was funeral in the area and a number of people were gone to pay their respects."
"A situation like this is totally regrettable and it's not the policy of Offaly GAA or Drumcullen GAA to have facilities and pitches not ready to host games," they concluded.