Forget the Suir that flows gently along through Mooncoin, the river of the moment in Kilkenny is the Arrigle that flows through Ballyhale.
Our friends and neighbours in the South Kilkenny village are not happy at present as there is a potential threat to Ballyhale Shamrocks, one of Kilkenny’s county’s most iconic clubs.
The threat is actually to the club’s grounds but it appears serious because Ballyhale’s hallowed pitch is at risk of being destroyed by flood relief measures proposed by the Office of Public Works. Over our dead bodies, I can hear thousands of people mutter into their breakfast cup of tea!
At an estimated cost of €430,000, it is envisaged that the village’s Arrigle River will be diverted through the club grounds and through its pitches, in particular through the pitch closest to the village. The river will also cut through a public walkway and flow close to the dressing rooms.Ballyhale Shamrocks Chairman, John Kennelly, said the OPW hadn’t a hope of getting its plan over the line. Describing the flood relief works as ‘unreal’, Mr Kennelly is also none too pleased that the playing fields are referred to as ‘football pitches’ in the plans. “We are a hurling club,” he said, stating the obvious.Councillor David Kennedy points out that the plan will be brought before the County Council and put out for public consultation but, even before that happens, he is adamant that the OPW will have to go back to the drawing board and make a new plan.Tim Butler, Director of Services at Kilkenny County Council, calmed a few nerves when he said the OPW plan was only an outline design subject to further consultation. Of course, it could all be a cunning plan by Kilkenny’s enemies to strike at one of the county team’s nurseries!