‘Mindless vandalism’ wrecks cricket pitch

by Gazette Reporter

MANAGEMENT of Cabinteely Cricket Club and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council are still seeking new grounds for the club, following an act of vandalism that destroyed their grounds at Kilbogget Park six weeks ago.
The Gazette spoke to Pat Finnerty, chairman of Cabinteely Cricket Club, about the damage done to the cricket grounds.
He told The Gazette that on one night, three green recycling bins were set alight on the crease (playing area where the wickets are).
The following night, more damage was done as accelerant had been used to finish off the job, destroying the whole crease area, which comprised all-weather material.
Finnerty said: “Then, the council stepped in to cover [the cost of replacing] it with emergency funding. I’ve been looking for somewhere since then for the cricket crease to be put, but I’m not having any luck as there’s very little space around for cricket creases that has enough green space.
“That’s one of the problems with cricket – you need quite a bit of space.”
He added that the council is prepared to fund a new crease, at a cost of around €7,000, but they have not yet found a place for it.
Unfortunately, there were no CCTV cameras at Kilbogget Park to catch the vandals in the act. However , Finnerty said the “wanton vandalism” was reported to gardai.
He said the council had been brilliant to the club and, along with Leinster Cricket, it recently appointed someone to look after the cricket community in DLR. “Everything was set up to progress the thing [cricket]. It’s sickening,” he said.
The club’s junior section, now in its third year, was just starting to grow. The juniors will now play all their home matches away until permanent grounds are found.
The club’s senior section currently uses a local sports grounds temporarily.
A spokesperson for the council said they had been working closely with Cabinteely Cricket Club and Cricket Leinster since the crease was vandalised to find the club a temporary home. They are also, along with Cricket Leinster, looking to identify a permanent home for the club.
The spokesperson said: “We can confirm that ongoing discussions between the council and Cricket Leinster on the roll-out of a specific cricket programme for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown have led to the creation of a new post within Cricket Leinster.
“We believe that this new post and the programme that will be implemented will provide a wonderful opportunity to further develop the game of cricket in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.”
Cllr Mary Hanafin (FF) condemned the vandalism which destroyed the cricket pitch at Kilbogget Park.
She said: “Over the past number of years Kilbogget Park has been carefully developed to ensure maximum use by the local community. Volunteers support the full range of sports and the cricket club is a valued asset.
“The mindless vandalism which led to the burning of the cricket pitch is an attack on the members and all users of the park.”
Cllr Hanafin said she would work with the club and the council to restore the pitch and increase security.

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