Just months after being the victims of renewed costly vandalism, Wexford Celtic FC were in the process of installing preventative security measures when they were hit with another major blow last week.
The club groundsman was installing new CCTV cameras at their Sinnottstown Lane grounds, which had been paid for by a county council grant, when he discovered that all of the copper pipes and tanks servicing the clubhouse had been ripped out in an act of theft that could leave the club facing a bill of up to €10,000.
The club's hard-working committee have been working hard on rebuilding the club to reach the heights it had previously occupied in the Wexford soccer landscape and were absolutely devastated to learn of the latest blow.
'It just feels like we take ten steps forward and forty steps back,' said committee member Jim Shannon.
'Basically they've taken all the pipes and tanks and stripped all the copper out. We were in the midst of installing our CCTV security cameras when we discovered this. The big boiler was left there; whether they couldn't carry it or they were disturbed in the act, I don't know. It's really devastating though.'
Jim explained that the club had been allocated a grant to install CCTV cameras after a spate of vandalism at the club which included smashed windows, broken slates and worse of all broken lights, meaning that some of the teams have been forced to train elsewhere in the evenings at a cost to the club.
The club have approached their insurance company on this occasion and, having obtained some preliminary quotes, have been told that it could cost them up to €10,000.
'It's really devastating for us,' said Jim. 'We have everything from children playing U8 right up to adults over 35 playing here and now we have no showers, toilets or running water.'
'In the past we thought it was just kids behind the vandalism, but this one was different,' he said of the most recent incident. 'They knew exactly what they were after - the most expensive copper tanks and pipes.'
'It's a real kick in the teeth for us. Our committee is working hard to put Wexford Celtic back on the map.'
'This is all voluntary. We've had lads in painting the dressing rooms and we have big plans to try and put in an all-weather pitch. Now any bit of money we have will have to go to fixing this.'
Jim said that, while disappointed, the club were determined to move forward. He added that they would be hoping for the help and support of the people of Wexford going forward in terms of purchasing raffle tickets and supporting the club in any way they can to rebuild.
Equally he asked that anyone who has any expertise in the area of plumbing that would be willing to help, get in touch with the club.
He also added that the matter is currently being investigated by An Garda Síochána. Anyone with information can contact them on 053 9165200.