Fears for homes and school as huge sinkhole opens up on GAA pitch.

The extent of the Monaghan sinkhole is clear when viewed from the air. Photo: Lou Metzger
A team of geologists from the UK is set to arrive at a Monaghan GAA pitch today after a massive sinkhole appeared yesterday, sparking fears that other parts of the land could also be vulnerable to collapse.

A nearby school was evacuated, roads were closed and a GAA club shut down its grounds yesterday morning after an underground disused mine for gypsum rock caused part of the land to collapse.

An exclusion zone was established around the area in Magheracloone, Co Monaghan, which includes half a dozen households. Monaghan County Council held a meeting yesterday with engineers and representatives from Gyproc, the company which operates the mine. They have contracted geologists to investigate the area this morning and will report back to the council. Residents were advised that the area is currently being risk-assessed. It's understood that shafts in the mine stretch to "several miles".This has led to fears that other parts of the land in the same area are vulnerable to collapse while the exact cause is yet to be determined.

"This isn't the first time we've had land collapses as a result of mining," Cllr Padraig McNally told the Irish Independent. "It happened about 15 years ago too in a field there. There are at least six family homes very close to this."Magheracloone GAA Club grounds and community centre is used as a training ground for a number of local GAA clubs, including the men's senior GAA team. It is understood Gyproc was previously involved in talks with the GAA club about relocating training grounds to another site but no agreement had been reached. In a statement on Facebook, the GAA club said the grounds would be closed for the "foreseeable future".A spokesperson for Gyproc said it is continuing to investigate the incident but said areas outside of the identified zone remain unaffected. Drumgossatt National School, which was evacuated, is to return to its normal class schedule today but parents will be required to take the back roads as the main roads remain closed indefinitely.