Volunteers had to spend two hours on Sunday morning cleaning up Castlegregory’s GAA grounds after drinkers showed complete disregard for the West Kerry club in breaking in and using it as a watering hole at the weekend.
The grounds at Páirc an Caisleáin, club secretary Kay Howley explained, were strewn with rubbish such as cans, bottles, and broken glass both on and off the pitch.
She said that the club believes that the drinking session took place on Saturday night, and she added that this has not been an isolated incident this summer.
“It’s soul-destroying,” she told The Kerryman. “We spent 12 months carrying out extensive works on that pitch and, as I say, it’s soul-destroying to see that total lack of regard for our club.
“Would this have happened without the COVID lockdown, we do not know.
“You’d say something if they put their bottles and cans away neatly, but no, there were cans on and off the pitch, and there was broken glass on and off the pitch.
“You have people training and using that pitch, and you wouldn’t know what could go wrong as a result of what happened here at the weekend. The implications of it could have been far-reaching.”
Ms Howley said it would have taken considerable effort to get into Páirc an Caisleáin and use the grounds as a watering hole as the pitch itself had been closed off.
“They probably would have had to climb a high wall at the grounds to get in,” she said.
“The pitch itself was closed. How much more we can do to keep people out, I don’t know, except for getting the message out there how hurtful this is to the members of our club. It is totally unacceptable.
“We have had incidents over the summer here and at the nearby beach, and people responsible have been faced down. Whether it was the same people involved or not, we do not know, and whether they were visitors to the area or locals or a combination, I don’t know for sure.
“If they were visitors to the area, I would remind them that GAA clubs work on a voluntary basis, and I’d ask them how they would feel if something like this was done to their own GAA club.”
In a statement released by the club following the incident, Castlegregory GAA suggested that it believes members of the club itself may have been a part of the gathering.
They also urged parents to be vigilant about where their children are at night.
Thanks were extended by the club to those who volunteered to take part in the clean-up operation at the weekend and on other occasions this summer when such an effort was required.