A member of a local football club has spoken of his digust after vandals damaged their pitch on Bank Holiday Monday.
Rampart Celtic manager Kieran Pickering hit out at those who have caused a fire at the field in Bay Estate, which is a setback after all the hard work carried out by the committee and puts in jeopardy the efforts to provide football for young people in the community.
As a result he has called for some outside help to prevent vandals accessing their pitch and causing damage.
Rampart Celtic only began playing at pitch a year ago having spent 12 months carefully restoring the field after it had fallen into a state of disrepair. Before Rampart Celtic came in and worked on the pitch it had been used by joyriders and was a beacon for anti-social behaviour. The committee of Rampart Celtic Football Club (which was formed 12 years ago to compete in the winter and summer leagues in Dundalk) have worked morning noon and night to ensure the pitch is in immaculate condition for their players and children in the area and according to Kieran all involved with the club were heartbroken when they heard that vandals had caused damage.
“I was actually walking down to the pitch on Monday afternoon to check it as one of the teams had a game that evening. As I approached the pitch I saw smoke in the distance and my first thought was that it was probably a BBQ or something like that from one of the gardens in the estate. As I got closer I realised that the smoke was coming from just in front of our dressing rooms and it was obvious that the fire had been started maliciously,” explained Kieran.
“I’m just glad that the dressing rooms didn’t go up as if those big containers went up the fire could have easily spread into the estate which would have been a nightmare scenario. It breaks your heart to see things like this happening to be honest. We work hard to ensure the kids in the area have somewhere safe to play football and then you’re faced with idiots who think it’s ok to come in and damage what we have been building for the last two years.
“We’re trying to build something long-term here which can be used by the kids in Bay Estate and give them something to do and be part of a team. Last year we also had an incident when somebody went on to the pitch with a scrambler bike and damaged the pitch so it’s not the first time we’ve encountered vandalism like this.
“All we want is for these people to leave us alone and respect what we are trying to do. We have done everything for ourselves since we started 12 years ago and raised all our own funds and never asked for outside help. However, it’s come to the point now that we need help to stop vandals doing this to our club.
“We are calling on the council or somebody in authority to put a plan in action to help us erect a fence to protect our pitch and our children. Either put the plan in motion or give us the green light so we can get going on the project and get a fence built. This pitch benefits the whole community long-term and if you don’t protect and have it available for the children in the area they will end up drifting off into anti-social behaviour and they will become the next generation of vandals,” stated Kieran.