THE PRO of a club that was targeted by vandals has described the crimes as like a "blow to the stomach" for his community.
John O'Connor from Glenville GAA spoke of how club members are reeling following severe damage inflicted within the grounds last Friday night.
The culprits had broken into the grounds before causing serious damage to machinery and goalposts.
They were believed to have spent time there consuming alcohol and made attempts to break windows before leaving the area. Litter had also been discarded on the grounds.
Mr O'Connor said there is a high chance the culprit is local given the remote nature of the area.
"They are hurting their own community," he said of those responsible.
"It's their own community who will have to pay for their crimes. This is an area where everybody knows everybody else. Volunteers from the club went out to deliver groceries to those who couldn't go out during the pandemic. There is so much good in the area which makes incidents like this even more disappointing. Hopefully, us speaking out about this will prick the conscience of whoever was involved. "
He stressed that the incident was not an isolated one.
"There was vandalism to Lotto signs in the area before this and an incident in Fouhy Park. Our fear is that these incidents will continue to escalate but the Gardaí have been great and we are confident that they will catch the person responsible."
The PRO underlined how the incident brought the community together.
"There have been so many supportive messages. Hopefully, we won't get any more of this. Our hope is that having Gardaí call to their door might make the person who did this realise the serious consequences of their actions.
"This is not normal behaviour and there obviously is a bit of background to what happened but we would like to see the person caught."
Mr O'Connor praised the work of Gardaí who he said have been very supportive.
"We'd really like to thank the Gardaí for their help during this time."
Club members had vented their outrage in response to Friday night's incident on their Facebook page. The post read as follows:
"Again we, unfortunately, have to report unsavoury behaviour within our grounds. Even though currently our grounds are closed and under construction, we still have people who decided to break into our grounds, using it to drink alcohol and litter the place, break some of our juvenile goals posts and damage some of the construction machinery on site which included spray painting and attempts to break windows.
"This is a most disappointing situation again to be dealing with and shows the perpetrators disregard for the club, its property within it and the many volunteers who invest so much time and money into helping and developing the club. The Gardaí are currently investigating the situation.
"We appeal to anyone to report to the Gardaí or any club officer suspicious activity that may be going on there."