Coleraine footballer Eoin Bradley was targeted with sectarian abuse on social media after he was caught short during their Irish Cup semi-final with Ballymena United.
The striker had already had an eventful game after giving his side the lead before missing a penalty kick as they lost out on a place in the final by losing the shoot-out after the game finished 1-1.
But it was an incident just before extra-time caught by the BBC cameras of Bradley (36) pulling aside his shorts to urinate on the pitch at Windsor Park that saw him in the firing line from rival fans.
The Irish FA is poised to look into the incident.
It forced Bradley to respond on Twitter after he was called a “dirty tramp” and “typical fenian” — with more than two-and-a-half thousand people reacting to show their support for him.
He said: “Yes I done a p*** on Windsor.... yes I’m a fenian/ Catholic. Some of my best mates are Protestants... so what? It’s 2020. Grow up. Treat people as you would like to be treated.”
Alongside some light-hearted replies, many people rallied behind Bradley, known by the nickname Skinner, as well as expressing their disgust at the abuse.
One said: “Not the first time a player’s been caught short and had to relieve themselves when not possible to head to the toilet. Unfortunately sectarianism still common in NI football has been and will be for years to come.”
Another replied: “I was at Windsor yesterday, I took a p***, yes I’m an Orangeman/Protestant. So what, Skinner speaks to everyone, treats everyone the same. Only gets this abuse because of the talent he has on the pitch. I support Skinner.”
The game was live on BBC 2 in Northern Ireland and commentators had to apologise to viewers watching who saw more of Bradley than they were expecting.
Last week Bradley told podcaster Grant Campbell how he is used to getting heckled, particularly by fans from derby rivals Ballymena.
He said: “It’s always good playing them — you’d need to have a broad back anyway as there’s always plenty of abuse fired at you.
“Whenever I go onto the pitch I’m friends with nobody but after that, if somebody wants to go for a pint with me after I’ll go and shake hands with anybody and forget about it, at the end of the day it’s only a game of football.”
An IFA spokesperson said it is “likely to look into the matter.”
Coleraine could point to Bradley taking on liquid during two designated water breaks during the match.