Banner board begins investigation as gate dislodges during player clash

The gate that dislodged when a melee developed between players from Wolfe Tones and Smith O'Brien's in their intermediate hurling semi-final replay at Cusack Park on Sunday. The child's buggy is visible behind the players. Picture: Chris Copley

Clare GAA chiefs are investigating how a gate at Cusack Park became dislodged within feet of a child’s buggy at the weekend.

The incident occurred in the first half of a county intermediate hurling championship semi-final replay when a melee developed between players from Wolfe Tones and Smith O’Brien’s.

As the row spilled over the sideline, the entrance gate on the River Fergus side of the field give way, with a child’s buggy only a few feet away.

Images of the controversy that show concerned supporters in the crowd were captured by Chris Copley, a photographer with The Clare People.

“I wasn’t in Cusack Park when this happened,” County chairman Michael McDonagh told The Clare People, “as I was in Kilmihil for the football semi-final.

“But I can tell you there will be an investigation into this on foot of the referee’s report. This shouldn’t have happened.”

When pressed, the chairman admitted that the events raised serious health and safety fears with regard to Cusack Park’s suitability to play host to the county senior hurling and football finals over the next three weeks.

“The county board wants to play the two county finals in Cusack Park, because it’s the best surface in the county,” said McDonagh, “but there are health and safety concerns.

“There are always health and safety concerns and everything has to be looked at by the CCC (Competitions Control Committee). An engineer’s report has to be looked at.”

The CCC went into special session on Monday to discuss Cusack Park’s suitability for the upcoming county senior hurling and football finals.

However, a board decision to rubber-stamp the hurling final between Clonlara and Sixmilebridge for the venue on Sunday week could still be subject to outside approval by Croke Park authorities.


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