Northern Ireland news

Co Antrim GAA club says theft of goalposts a 'slap in the teeth'

St Ergnats GAC in Moneyglass, Co Antrim

A Co Antrim GAA club has said the theft of goalposts used in under-age games is a "slap in the teeth" as it prepares to embark on a major building project.

Portable aluminium goalposts worth £600 have been stolen from St Ergnats GAC in Moneyglass, Co Antrim.

The theft was first noticed on April 24 after coronavirus restrictions were relaxed to allow club training again.

Chairman Sean O'Boyle appealed for the return of the goalposts.

"We had them stored away in what we thought was a secure part of the ground," he said.

He added: "A club in a rural location like Moneyglass - it's the heart of the community".

"It's difficult enough running a club and then this happens. This money will have to be recouped from elsewhere."

Mr O'Boyle said the theft of the goalposts comes as the club is preparing to embark on the construction of a second pitch.

St Ergnats has 18 different football, hurling and camogie teams who have to use the same pitch.

"We've one pitch which has been there since 1975," he said.

"A couple of years ago we bought new land. We're about to start construction of our new pitch this summer. We need every penny we can get so whenever something like this happens it's a bit of a slap in the teeth."

He added: "We're trying to do our best for club and community."

Mr O'Boyle said the second pitch should be in use by 2023 to mark the 75th anniversary of the club.

"We're in dire need of this second pitch," he said.

"Apart from the good people of Ulster buying tickets for our regional fundraising, everything so far has been internally funded. We've had no help or assistance from government, councils or GAA."

A police spokeswoman said officers had received a report of the theft of goal posts from a sports club on Taylorstown Road in Moneyglass.

"The items were first noticed missing on April 24 and police are appealing for anyone with any information in relation to the theft, or who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, to get in touch on 101 quoting reference number 1033 03/05/21," she said.

The theft of the goalposts was the second at the club in recent years.

Thieves previously stole aluminium advertising boards worth £4,000.

Mr O'Boyle said anyone who can help the club or who wants to donate to its building fund can contact him on Facebook at @moneyglassgac or by email chairperson.stergnatsmoneyglass.antrim@gaa.ie

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