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Man avoids jail after football hooligans clashed at Coleraine train station after derby with Ballymena

Football hooligans clashed and punches were exchanged at the Translink Station in Coleraine as violence erupted after a match between derby rivals Coleraine and Ballymena , a court has heard.

A Ballymena United fan, Blair Millar (20), of Barra Drive in Ballymena's Ballykeel One housing estate, hurdled a barrier to confront a Coleraine fan and CCTV showed them brawling.

The bust-up happened on Saturday October 1 last year after the two sides had drawn 2-2 at the nearby Coleraine Showgrounds.

At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday, Millar was present and admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour and was given three months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

A prosecutor said around 5pm after the game police escorted Ballymena fans to the joint bus/railway station in Coleraine and Millar jumped a barrier and ran towards a Coleraine fan.

The other male was previously given an "alternative disposal".

Both alleged to police they were assaulted by each other and CCTV showed the other male was gesturing to Ballymena fans and then Millar approached and violence flared up.

Defence barrister Michael Smith said "blows were exchanged".

Deputy District Judge Sean O'Hare said Millar "seems to have gone out of his way to be offended".

Mr Smith said commonsense should have told his client to stay where he was but he made a "spur of the moment" decision.

Mr Smith said the CCTV appeared to show the other fan throw the first punch.

Sentencing Millar, the judge told him: "Nothing in that CCTV footage does you any credit".

He noted Millar "blamed police for allowing Coleraine fans to get into the bus station".

The judge added that the other male "was not entirely blameless".

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