County Board urged to maintain its pitches

County Board urged to maintain its pitches
Councillor Kenneth Collins at one of the two County Board pitches adjacent to St. Vincent's H&F Club, Kilmore Road.

A local councillor has called on the Cork County GAA Board to get their “housekeeping in order” and keep up maintenance of two pitches adjacent to St Vincent’s GAA ground on Kilmore Road.

Sinn Féin’s Kenneth Collins said the two sand based all-weather pitches which are owned by the Cork County Board next to St Vincent’s GAA - which is an entirely unassociated complex - are riddled with ragwort weed and are an eyesore.

The pitches had previously been the subject of anti-social behaviour with stones being thrown by youngsters into the housing estate across the road.

Contractors moved in to cut the pitches last month after the Evening Echo reported on the issue. However, only the width and length of the two pitches were cut with the perimeter left covered in ragwort weed.

“They left the sides of the pitch as is with ragwort weed, which is an aggressive weed and is actually poisonous,” said Cllr Collins, who is treasurer of St Vincent's.

“The anti-social behaviour has quietened down but the pitches are still unusable. I’m not aware if the seeds of ragwort can blow off and into our premises,” he added.

The pitches had previously been the playing fields for the North Monastery school before being purchased by the County Board.

Mr Collins said that because of the pitches proximity to St Vincent's grounds, the public perception is that they are owned by the club - which is not the case.

“Our premises is immaculate, in fantastic pristine condition and then you have the Cork County Board, our governing body, leaving two pitches to ruin.

“Last year, the Cork senior hurlers and footballer had nowhere to train allegedly.

“At the end of the day, the whole complex is associated with us but we have our footprint and the Cork County Board have theirs. When you have a club the size of St Vincent’s looking after the County Board should do the same.

“We are a very proud organisation in the GAA and we just need to keep our housekeeping in order,” he added.

St Vincent’s secretary Vincent Stokes said he would be delighted to see the pitches restored to their former condition but attempts to engage with the County Board have been unsuccessful.

“It’s a terrible shame that they’ve left them like that. They can’t be used.

“They took 58 or 59 bales of grass [from the pitch] but it still wasn’t in a position to be used because the grass was four or five inches high which is unacceptable for a hurling or football game.

“It’s a shame to see the pitches go to rack and ruin,” he added.

When contacted by the Evening Echo, Cork County Board PRO Donal Leahy said a committee has been set up to look after the pitches and is dealing with the issue but no further comment would be made.

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