Drogheda junior soccer club pleads with arsonists after €50,000 damage

Funding drive raises €13,000 after damage is discovered as under-8s arrive for training

The clean-up begins after an arson attack on Drogheda Boys/Girls FC. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

The clean-up begins after an arson attack on Drogheda Boys/Girls FC. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

 

A soccer club that suffered up to €50,000 worth of damage in an arson attack has made an impassioned plea to those responsible to reflect on their actions.

There has been a strong response to a fundraising page for the Drogheda Boys and Girls club, with more than €13,000 raised in less than a day.

The fire at the Co Louth club, whose past players include Ireland internationals Gary Kelly and Nicky Colgan, was discovered as coaches arrived for what was the first training session for a group of under-8 players on Saturday morning.

The fire destroyed where the club’s equipment and gear was stored.

Rory Kerr, head of coaching at the club, which has 270 members, said it was the third time in 10 years the club had been targeted.

Speaking as coaches, parents and players tried to salvage what was left, Mr Kerr said: “We have two girls’ teams training today. They can’t stop us, they won’t stop us. While the kids train, we clean.”

The club needs a new container and equipment, but Mr Kerr said its message in these Covid times was that “if a group of people get together, they can’t be knocked down. We are not doing this for the vandals, we are doing it for the kids – the kids come first.”

Appeal for witnesses

The Gofundme page was set up on Saturday evening, and by Sunday morning had exceeded its initial target of €10,000.

The donations started to come in after the club issued a strong statement, shared widely on social media, saying: “Years of work to build something up, taken away because someone was determined to burn it down for the craic. For entertainment.”

It asked those responsible to think about what they thought they had achieved, and continued: “Today is your day. Enjoy it. But we’ll be back tomorrow.”

Mr Kerr said the donations, “give us the lift we need”, and are people’s way of “showing their support and that their opinion is that we should keep going”.

Gardaí said they were investigating an act of criminal damage at Marley’s Lane, Drogheda, on Saturday morning. They appealed for any witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.https://www.gofundme.com/f/drogheda-boys-fc-appeal-after-arson-attack?utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer