An Armagh councillor has branded the Mill Field pitch in the city as “embarrassing” after volunteers were forced to clean excess grass from the pitch prior to a football match.
DUP Councillor Scott Armstrong has said the incident prior to an Armagh Blues FC game on Saturday (September 9) was his “breaking point” and he has called for a meeting with Council over the “terrible” conditions.
He previously contacted Council in July regarding issues such as grass cutting, damaged dugouts and access for Armagh Blues FC, who use the ground as their de-facto home pitch.
Prior to Saturday’s first round Junior Cup match, in which the Blues defeated Castlecaulfield FC 4-3, the pitch had been cut but the excess grass had not been removed.
The match could have been abandoned and the club fined had it not been for volunteers who worked on the pitch right up to kick off.
Councillor Armstrong says he has been working closely with the club over the summer to prepare the Mill Field for the new season, stating that he had assurances the issue would be addressed by Council. Despite this, he was “horrified” at the pitch’s conditions at the weekend.
He commented: “From a Council point of view this is embarrassing. How they expected a match to be played in those conditions is beyond me.
“I have requested a meeting with the Council and with the club to iron out any issues that they may have. It is time that ABC Council and their staff take some pride in their facilities.”
He continued: “To me this is a fairly simple problem to fix. When there is a home game, ensure that the pitch is ready. It is really that simple. It is my hope that Council officers can meet me as soon as they can so this is put behind us.
“Armagh Blues FC is a club that is very close to my heart. I have strong family connections with the club and as a local football club they bring the community together. The Mill Field has always been their de-facto home pitch and it is paramount that the council respects that and support them.”
A spokesperson for ABC Council told Armagh I that council would not be issuing a response to a request for comment.