GAA club comes to assistance of soccer club after pitch vandalised

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A GAA club has come to the assistance of a soccer club in Cork whose pitch was badly vandalised when a car crashed through locked gates and was driven around the pitch and ultimately set on fire.

The incident happened at the grounds of Grattan United on Kilmore Rd, Cork.

A victim impact statement was prepared on behalf of the club for Cork District Court to inform Judge Olann Kelleher of the impact that the vandalism had on the club, which relies heavily on local fundraising for its survival.

Unfortunately, Grattan United cannot presently afford to repair the extensively damaged surface of their pitch, on which the car was driven around for several minutes before being burnt out in the middle of the facility.

Judge Kelleher noted from the victim impact statement at Cork District Court: “The only good news is that St Vincent’s [hurling and football club] gave them permission as a soccer club to train on their pitch, which is progress.”

The matters came to light yesterday at Cork District Court when Ian Donovan, 18, of 30 Killiney Heights, Knocknaheeny, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing criminal damage at Grattan United football club on Kilmore Rd, Knocknaheeny, Cork, on June 10.

Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan said: “The car crashed through the gates and damaged the surface. The car was set on fire in the middle of the pitch. The club estimated that €10,000 worth of damage was done to the gates and pitch.

“Unfortunately, they don’t have the money to repair the pitch.”

Judge Kelleher said Donovan was entitled to have a probation report prepared on him in advance of sentencing. The judge said he would put back the finalising of the case until September 24 for that purpose.

The judge referred to the devastation and harm caused to the people of the locality by the defendant’s actions.

Judge Kelleher said a probation report would give the court an indication of the attitude of the defendant to the damage he had caused in his own community.

The teenager was remanded on continuing bail until then.

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