GAA county officials investigate ‘strippers’ at Ballyragget party
Kilkenny County Committee said it was examining videos of the ‘non-GAA event’
The Ballyragget-based St Patrick’s GAA club won the Kilkenny intermediate hurling final on Sunday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Croke Park is staying silent on the emergence of explicit footage and images which were recorded at a celebration party reportedly involving members of the St Patrick’s GAA club in Kilkenny.
However, local GAA chiefs in the county have launched an investigation into the videos and photos, which have been circulating widely on the internet since Tuesday night, showing strippers at the party and appearing to show sex acts being performed with at least one male.
The Ballyragget-based club won the Kilkenny intermediate hurling final on Sunday and the trophy is clearly visible in the images, prompting the GAA county board’s intervention.
“The Kilkenny County Committee can confirm that it is investigating an incident that took place on Tuesday night at a non-GAA event in Ballyragget, ” the board PRO Seamus Reade said on Thursday in a statement.
“County officers met with representatives of St Patrick’s Ballyragget on Wednesday night and will review its findings in the coming days.”
The county board chairman Ned Quinn said on Wednesday that the board is “dealing with” the matter.
A spokeswoman for the GAA in Croke Park said the organisation was “not issuing anything from here” and that it was a private party. In reference to the intermediate championship cup being visible in the images, she said that was a matter for the Kilkenny board.
The St Patrick’s club’s PRO John Glennon said the footage was not taken at an official club event but at a private party. “We had celebrations on Sunday night, nothing happened. There was a party [on Tuesday night] but it had nothing to do with us.”
The club’s own celebrations were held at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny city on Sunday night, hours after the match itself in which the Ballyragget club beat Graigue-Ballycallan.
The club are holding another function this Sunday night in Hotel Kilkenny, featuring music by The 2 Johnnies.
First win since 1979
Having lost three of the previous intermediate finals, Sunday was the St Patrick’s club’s first win in the competition since 1979, when they beat Dicksboro in the decider.
“I was at the match on Sunday and they hurled extremely well,” county councillor Maurice Shortall, from nearby Castlecomer, said. “The best team won, but I wouldn’t be privy to any kind of [celebration]. I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do Snapchat, I’m just an ordinary Joe Soap councillor and keep the head down and do my work.”
He said he “would like to think” their fixture in the Leinster Club Championship, scheduled for Sunday week against Ardclough from Kildare, would go ahead. “The game is bigger than all of that and it was a fantastic achievement for St Patrick’s to win that... At the end of the day, they won the match on the field of play.”
Kilkenny’s representative on the Leinster Council, PJ Kenny, was not in a position to comment on the situation on Thursday.
Leinster Council CEO Michael Reynolds said the issue was a matter for the Kilkenny County Board, and also GAA headquarters at Croke Park.
“It’s nothing to do with us,” he told The Irish Times. “It’s my understanding that it was a private function... It was supposed to be a 21st party or some kind of party. It wasn’t the night of the match. We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out. Maybe something will come to light that we don’t know about.”
Asked if there was a possibility of St Patrick’s being kicked out of the Leinster intermediate club championship, he said: “Not to my knowledge.”
Another Castlecomer-based county councillor, John Brennan, said he feared the lewd activities at the party on Tuesday were “spoiling the whole party for everyone” following a “fantastic achievement” in winning their county final.
“I don’t know whether it was stage-managed or anything... It’s not something that people would be used to have happening. For a couple of people to come in and do something like that, people will be shocked.”