herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

'Blaze could have wiped us out' - heartbroken chairman of soccer club

Beechpark’s chairman Eamon O’Hara at the club’s changing rooms which were destroyed after being set on fire. Picture: Arthur Carron
Beechpark’s chairman Eamon O’Hara at the club’s changing rooms which were destroyed after being set on fire. Picture: Arthur Carron

A junior football club was "just half an hour away" from "losing everything" when their changing rooms were gutted by fire.

Youths are suspected of starting the blaze, which destroyed one of a number of steel containers at Lucan's Beechpark FC in Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan.

Club chairman Eamon O'Hara told the Herald that he was heartbroken by the damage caused the by fire.

"We were just half an hour from losing it all," he said. "The fire could have wiped out the whole club."

Emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 10.30pm on Monday after one of the renovated containers was set on fire.

Teenagers

A coach living nearby was able to open the doors of a neighbouring container where the club's equipment is stored.

"We've had trouble with a group of anti-social teenagers for about two years now," said Mr O'Hara.

"One of these containers was practically burnt to the ground. We're at the point where we don't know what to do.

"We've been in Lucan, running this club for 37 years and we've never had trouble like this before."

Mr O'Hara said that members of the club were fearful of more anti-social behaviour over the forthcoming summer holidays.

"Gardai have told me that whenever the sun comes out, there's trouble in local parks.

"But I'm confident only a small number of youths are behind this. The majority of teens from our club are very well behaved.

"I hope the park rangers and local public stay on alert because we were very close to losing everything.

"Burnt out changing rooms are one thing, but I don't want to even think about what would have happened had our storage container been set on fire."

Mr O'Hara said the public support his club is receiving is "exemplary".

"My phone hasn't stopped ringing with people asking how they can help out, or to make a donation towards getting new containers.

"The Guards have been very helpful too, assuring us that they will do all they can in finding those responsible."

A gardai spokesperson said last night: "Gardai are investigating a fire that occurred at Griffin Valley Park at approximately 10.30pm on Monday.

"A metal container was set on fire and Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene and extinguished the fire. No one injured."

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