Enniscrone/Kilglass GAA Club has hit back at comments made by a Mayo Councillor Al McDonnell regarding its hosting of last Sunday’s Connacht Club SFC game between Tourlestrane and Ballintubber.
A statement issued by the club reads: “We wish to respond to claims advanced by the councillor at a meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District and subsequently on local media this week.
“Firstly, the councillor claims that there were a ‘lack of parking facilities’ for those attending the game. This is totally misleading.
“The club’s ground at Quigabar provides for up to 400 car parking spaces within the ground and 120 cars surrounding the perimeter wall.
"For the occasion of Sunday’s game, and previously for the county finals held at Quigabar on October 14, the club provided for parking for up to 1000 extra cars within 300 metres of the ground, in co-operation with local landowners.
“The councillor also stated that “the pitch itself had no spectator accommodation at all” and that patrons attending the game were “all on the same level as the players were playing on”.
“These claims are unsubstantiated. The club has two covered stands, each providing cover for spectators, and terracing along the whole road-side of the pitch.
"These areas are all above the level of the playing surface, as is evident to anyone who has attended any fixture at the ground.
“The councillor also made a serious charge at the club’s changing facilities, criticising without first-hand knowledge our dressing rooms.
“Both teams were provided with two dressing rooms for Sunday’s fixture. In addition, both teams were given access to the club’s state-of-the-art indoor astro turf pitch, to cater for pre-warm up activities such as foam rolling and band work.
“This facility is one of only a handful in the country. In addition, as a secondary county ground, the grounds are inspected by Connacht Council and Croke Park officials to ensure everything is up to standard. No issues arose following these inspections.
“The councillor also spoke of the ‘terrible breeze blowing in from the Atlantic’. This is quite simply a ludicrous comment.
“The club requests that Councillor McDonnell apologises to the 80-strong team of stewards, who gave five hours of their Sunday to ensure a safe and enjoyable afternoon for supporters of both Ballintubber and Tourlestrane.
“The statements made by the councillor have caused deep hurt to the many people, past and present, who have given so much of their time to developing our grounds to the extent that they have.
“We also note that these comments are the only negative comments we have received following hosting of the Sligo County finals on October 14 with Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan in attendance, the Connacht Club IFC game between Shamrock Gaels and Fenagh St Cailins and Sunday’s Senior tie. All eight competing teams were complimentary about the grounds and associated facilities.
“We look forward to hosting Saturday's Connacht JFC tie between Easkey and Balla.
“We are proud of our club, proud of our people and proud of our facilities.”