This was the shocking sight that greeted Killarney Celtic FC officials when they arrived to check the club grounds on Friday morning.
Perspex panels in two of the team dug-outs were smashed and there were obvious signs that attempts had been made to set fire to the pitch-side seating area where substitutes and officials sit during games.
What made it even more upsetting for the club was that new panels had been installed just last year and it will cost a couple of thousand euro to replace them and have them fitted.
“It was a blatant act of vandalism and it is very upsetting for everybody,” club official Paul Sherry told KillarneyToday.com.
“Money is very hard to come by for small community clubs like ourselves so how are we going to find the funding that is needed to do this work?” he asked.
The two damaged dug-outs are located on the grass pitch towards the top of Celtic Park at Ballydribeen and, while the gates to the grounds were locked, it is believed the culprits must have climbed a wall or a fence to gain access to the ground.
The incident has been reported to gardaí and CCTV footage from the area is being examined in an attempt to identify those responsible.
It is not the first time the reigning Kerry league and cup champions have had their grounds targeted and in May 2021 they highlighted their concerns on a deputation to Killarney Municipal District Council.
They said then that repeated and very costly damage was being caused to the grounds by people trespassing and indulging in anti-social behaviour.
The council heard that it had become a sport for people to run along the apex of the roof of the clubhouse, putting their lives at risk.
Club chairman, Tim Jones, who is also the club’s head of maintenance and development, told councillors that Celtic had to constantly spend money repairing the damage caused, with goalposts having to be welded and repaired at least 10 times and fences that have been broken down having to be fixed.
The council erected a fence on property is owns adjacent to the football park but the problems haven’t gone away.
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