Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine football fans sentenced over offensive abuse during Irish Cup tie

The fans admitted the charges against them (stock photo)
The fans admitted the charges against them (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

Some Coleraine football fans chanted offensive abuse from the stands during an Irish Cup tie, a court was told.

A banner was displayed which made reference to “refugees”, and derogatory comments towards a player included remarks like “dirty Fenian b******,” Ballymena Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday yesterday.

Other comments included “F*** the BBC”, who were televising the Irish Cup quarter-final tie at Larne live.

The details emerged as four fans were sentenced after previously admitting a charge of being disorderly at the game, which Coleraine won 5-3, in March.

The four in court yesterday were: Darryl James Stirling (27), of Taylors Row, Coleraine; Aaron Knight (26), of Glebe Avenue, Coleraine; Christopher Robert John Boreland (22), of Lakeside Court, Coleraine and Rhys Hutchinson (20), of Farranseer Park, Macosquin.

District judge Nigel Broderick asked if the football club had taken any action against “these so-called fans” and he read from a letter from Coleraine FC Chairman Colin McKendry which said the club has a “zero tolerance” policy as part of their Code of Conduct.

A defence lawyer said there was an “element of re-education” involved.

A lawyer for Knight said “verbal comments were over the top” and added: “Fans will try anything to put a goalkeeper off but this went too far”.

A lawyer for Boreland said the defendant had been intoxicated and accepted “vulgar and unpleasant” language had been used.

Hutchinson’s lawyer said a disorderly behaviour conviction was in relation to an incident when he left a football match in 2018.

Stirling was ordered to do 150 hours of community service, and Knight was put on Probation for six months and given 150 hours of community service.

Boreland, meanwhile, was given a five months’ jail term suspended for two years; and Hutchinson was put on probation for six months and bound over to keep the peace for two years in the sum of £300.

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