'Little heroes' help raise thousands for sinkhole-hit GAA club

File photo dated 03/10/18 of Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan which was forced to shut after the collapse of a mine caused sinkholes to appear in its pitch.
File photo dated 03/10/18 of Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan which was forced to shut after the collapse of a mine caused sinkholes to appear in its pitch.

Thousands of euros have been raised for a GAA club left badly damaged by a mine collapse.

The Magheracloone Mitchells GAA pitch in Co Monaghan subsided last month and massive holes developed in the ground.

Colm O'Neill Handout photo of Tommy Farrelly of Magheracloone Mitchells flanked by Nicholas Clarke (left) and Victor Clarke (right) of Ratoath GAA after an under-sevens charity match.

Colm O'Neill Handout photo of Tommy Farrelly of Magheracloone Mitchells flanked by Nicholas Clarke (left) and Victor Clarke (right) of Ratoath GAA after an under-sevens charity match.

Children aged under seven from the club took on Ratoath GAA club from Co Meath in a charity event over the weekend.

An over-35s match was also played.

Organiser Roy Clarke's children originally put forward the idea.

He said: "This was just one club trying to hold out a hand of friendship to another club in a tough time."

Colm O'Neill Handout photo of Callum Griffin of Magheracloone Mitchells (left) and Victor Clarke of Ratoath GAA leading a parade of the two teams before an under-sevens charity match.

Colm O'Neill Handout photo of Callum Griffin of Magheracloone Mitchells (left) and Victor Clarke of Ratoath GAA leading a parade of the two teams before an under-sevens charity match.

He said significant amounts of money to help the club get back on its feet had been raised following social media and mainstream media appeals.

His children Victor, seven, and Nicholas, five, took part in Saturday's fixture.

Victor saw television footage of the damage and wrote to his Ratoath GAA club requesting the under-sevens charity match to raise money for their new club.

The sinkholes which badly damaged the ground are believed to have been caused by recent work at a nearby mine.

The clubhouse was damaged by subsidence, neighbouring houses were also affected and roads closed.

A school was evacuated.

Sinkholes can be caused by rainwater dissolving soft rock.

The club established a crowdfunding website following the damage and began looking for an alternative field to train on.

All their equipment was still in the clubhouse, which they could not access for safety reasons.

Magheracloone has described the two youngsters as "two little heroes".