FOOTBALLERS were horrified to find that a gang of roaming thieves targetted their dressing rooms while they were training making off with thousands of euros-worth of valuables.
The gang entered the Castleisland Desmond club house during a St Kieran's training session. They took car-keys from players' clothes, got into their cars and stole well over €5,000-worth of belongings.
Some of the items stolen included deeply personal belongings, such as John McGlynn's wedding ring. Another player, Brendan O'Rahilly, was sickened to find that all his work tools had been stolen from his van.
Players are appealing for the return of their items. Gardaí carried out a forensic examination of the grounds, including the cars, on Friday and believe the clubhouse was targetted by a gang of roaming thieves. THIEVES got away with thousands of euros-worth in personal items belonging to players with St Kieran's GAA Club in a brazen raid on their Castleisland dressing rooms and their cars during a training session on Thursday night.
A wedding ring, wallets, iPhones and work tools as well as Kerry great Seamus Moynihan's suit were grabbed by the gang when they entered the dressing rooms and stole car keys from players' clothing.
All but one of the sets of keys had remote clickers and the gang were able to target the cars quickly, taking well over €5,000 worth of personal belongings.
Players were left reeling when they returned from the training session and discovered their belongings were missing.
Scartaglen player Brendan O'Rahilly was horrified to find that all his work tools were stolen from his parked van.
Among the items belonging to Currow player John McGlynn stolen was his wedding ring. "We were shocked by it to be honest and I was particularly saddened over the theft of my wedding ring which I left in a top pocket of my fleece jacket in the dressing room," Mr McGlynn told The Kerryman.
"I'm married six years and it is a very important personal belonging. I'd appeal to common human decency, if these people have it, to return all the items of personal value at least."
Gardaí believe they are now on the trail of an opportunist criminal gang who roam the countryside in search of easy targets. The Desmond's sportsfield would have been obvious to all cars coming into Castleisland from the Limerick side on Thursday night as it was under floodlights.
The brightness of the floodlights also meant that the darkened dressing rooms were not visible to those on the pitch during the training session, which was led by Seamus Moynihan.
The club this week warned other clubs to stay vigilant with the gang on the loose in the region.
"We really want to warn other clubs about this and to remain vigilant when in training," St Kieran's Chairman Tom O'Donoghue said.
"The dressing rooms were in darkness around 8pm when it happened and we wouldn't usually take much notice of people walking around as it is a popular spot for walkers. They had all the time in the world and we advise all clubs to be very vigilant. It was awful for the players, who lost so much," he added.
The players found all their car keys, bar one, dumped in a bin in the carpark.
Player Dan O'Sullivan, whose keys were not recovered, had to get a drive back to Cork City where he has just started a new job as he couldn't get into his car.
Gardaí have conducted enquiries locally and outside the county in their search for the gang. "This may be possibly the work of travelling criminals targeting places where people gather. We are taking it very seriously and are conducting enquiries locally and outside of the county," Sgt John O'Mahony said.