The committee and mentors of Tullamore Ladies Football Club were shocked this week to find out that the jerseys for their underage teams were stolen and later burned in a field in the town.
The U12 girls were in a U12 C Shield County Final on Sunday and prior to the game it was discovered their panel’s jerseys and a new complete set of jerseys for the U8 team, recently generously sponsored by Lir Fire Protection, were missing from O’Brien Park.
This meant that the U12 team had to go to rounds to secure jerseys at the last minute to line out in the final.
The young girls, along with their opponents, St Manchan’s played their final as a curtain-raiser to the Leinster intermediate Semi-Final between and Offaly and Wexford in Ferbane.
Both teams formed a guard of honour for the intermediate teams as they entered the pitch prior to the game.
The committee members were then horrified to find out that the jerseys were found ripped up and burnt in a fire. It had been initially hoped that the jerseys were mistakenly taken by some other team and would be returned.
The two sets of jerseys, an U12 and U8 set of jerseys were found burnt in the area known as Kearney’s field.
The few jerseys that were recovered in the field were all ripped, showing the level of effort taken to destroy the jerseys.
On Monday evening, the U6, U8 and U10 teams played challenge games and had no club jerseys to wear.
Club chairman Graham Daly said they are disgusted at what has happened. “This is heartbreaking for everyone involved to think that anyone would do something like this. Our mentors have been making great strides this year and the number of young girls playing for the club has increased significantly over the last year or so,” he said.
A local man discovered some of the jerseys burnt out in a tree and on the ground and contacted Mr Daly.
Club secretary Deirdre Power said: “We were absolutely sickened to find out what happened to the jerseys. All the club mentors have been putting in many hours to coach our young girls and we now have teams at U6, U8, U10 and U12 age groups in the academy. We really can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing”.
It is now hoped that CCTV footage from the grounds may be able to identify the culprits.
Any donations are greatly appreciated as we are now left without any kits for our U6, U8, U10 & U12's to play in.