Limerick grandmother ‘nervous’ as stray sliotars hit home

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Eileen Sheehan with Aimee and Stephanie Quinn, Brendan Ryan and Margo Freaser, with some of the balls that have enden up in their gardens. Picture Michael Cowhey.
A GRANDMOTHER says it is “pure luck” that someone hasn’t lost an eye or been seriously injured by the number of stray sliotars that are escaping from a local GAA training pitch into a residential area.

A GRANDMOTHER says it is “pure luck” that someone hasn’t lost an eye or been seriously injured by the number of stray sliotars that are escaping from a local GAA training pitch into a residential area.

Eileen Sheehan who lives in Millmount, Kilmallock has had to insert silicone into her front door after it was damaged by a sliotar.

The sliotars, she says, have been coming in on her property for “years and years” but the number has increased in recent times due to an increase in people using the training pitch.

According to Ms Sheehan, four out of the six residents on the front row of Millmount have had damage caused to their homes by sliotars.

“My neighbour in number one has a cracked window at the moment from a sliotar. My daughter was only out of her car one evening and one landed right beside her car. She said: ‘Mam, it could have damaged my car’. I said: ‘It could have been your head’.”

Eileen says she is nervous herself when she goes out her front door that a sliotar could fall from the sky and is even more nervous when her two grandchildren come to visit.

“I’m hell-bent on getting it sorted out now as my grandchildren, who are aged nine and four, are coming in here a lot more now. You could get two sliotars a week and then a good few weeks might pass and you wouldn’t get one at all. You just don’t know.

“When my grandson goes for a walk, I always say: ‘Hang on, I will run up and make sure there is no one in the field’. I was coming in home another evening and there was another sliotar. I’m talking split seconds here. It’s an accident waiting to happen. I don’t want to lose an eye,” she said.

While the goalposts in the training pitch are not located in the direction of the residential area, the sliotars, she says, are going out over the wall as a result of cross-field play.

She maintains there is a simple solution to the problem - erect a good size net. “There is no net. That’s all I want them to do - put up a big net. They [the local GAA club] did offer to put up a three-foot net but sure if a tall player had a cough, he would spit out over it,” she said.

“I have an Effin ball and that came from the main field - that was before they put up the big net at the back of the main goal. There is a fine net there, a flaking net. I’m not looking for anything like that net.”

Ms Sheehan describes suggestions by some that the problem would be resolved by getting the players to train up and down the pitch, as “unrealistic”.

She stressed that she has nothing whatsoever against the GAA and just wants to feel safe on her property.

“I love to see youngsters out playing,” she said. “It’s fantastic to see them training and I know that people give up their free time to train them. They are out in all weathers,” she added.

When contacted this week, a spokesperson for Kilmallock GAA Club said that they had engaged in discussions with the resident and did discuss certain solutions “but we couldn’t find any mutually acceptable solution”.