Saturday 16 December 2017

Three more GAA clubs hit by 'scumbag' thieves

Targets: Meath players, whose cars were attacked by thieves, walk off the pitch at the end of a recent game Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Targets: Meath players, whose cars were attacked by thieves, walk off the pitch at the end of a recent game Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
DJ Carey Picture: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE


ANOTHER three GAA clubs have been targeted by raiders just days after hurling legend DJ Carey railed against the escalation of wanton thievery in rural Ireland as garda resources are squeezed.

As the outspoken Kilkenny All-Star lashed out at "scumbags and arseholes on free legal aid", three Laois clubs sustained losses and criminal damage in separate hit-and-run robberies.

This follows recent attacks on the cars of Meath senior footballers and management while they trained at Parc Tailteann in Navan, and a separate raid on cars at Simmonstown GAA club.

Players from DJ Carey's club Young Irelands were also targeted the same week, with iPhones and wallets taken from a dressing room while they played a challenge match against Loughlin Gaels at Tinryland in Carlow.

A BMW owned by a brother of DJ Carey was also stolen.

Last week's raids in Co Laois were all remarkably similar – suggesting the same roving gang is responsible.

Laois county GAA board issued a warning to all clubs in the county, including soccer clubs and golf clubs to be extra vigilant and work together to thwart the gangs.

Castletown/Slieve Bloom GAA, Borris-in-Ossory GAA and Rathdowney GAA were all targeted.

The gates at Castletown/ Slieve Bloom GAA club – secured with a high-strength industrial lock – were severed and the clubrooms forced open. A large copper water cylinder was stolen, but only after the raiders drained it, flooding the dressing rooms and conference rooms, causing extensive damage.

Club officials praised the comments made by DJ Carey in the Sunday Independent last week after his family fell victim to thieves.

The chair of Castletown/ Slieve Bloom GAA, Monica Delaney, told the Laois Nationalist: "It's disgraceful when communities are working so hard to provide facilities for young people. It's the same people who are paying the money, those who are working. Then these people go out in the dark of night and do this. I think middle Ireland will have to revolt and I do not mind if you print that."

A pub in Coolrain, The Village Inn, was also robbed, and the same gang is also believed to be responsible. A jukebox, beer and cash were taken in the raid.

Ms Delaney said that there was an onus on scrap metal firms not to take in metal suspected to be stolen and for people not to buy suspected stolen property.

"If it seems too good to be true, then it's too good to be true," she said.

The Rathdowney GAA club premises were also broken into the same week. The thieves gained entry via a rear window of a dressing room which was forced open.

The premises was searched thoroughly, but only a gas cylinder was taken.

Rathdowney GAA chair Justin Kavanagh said: "We are all only trying to survive and to provide amenities for young people. To think people like this can do what they like ... and if they were caught outside Rathdowney what would be done? Nothing!"

Borris-in-Ossory GAA ground was also broken into, sometime between March 26 and 27. Substantial damage was caused to a dressing room door, but nothing was taken.

Sunday Independent

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