Belfast Telegraph

Girl (15) hospitalised after trouble breaks out at Ballymena United game for second time in two weeks

By Nevin Farrell

A 15-year-old girl was hospitalised on Tuesday night after hooliganism erupted outside a Ballymena United match for the second time in recent weeks.

Police are investigating after an incident in Larne around 10pm at the end of a County Antrim Shield match between Larne and Ballymena United at Inver Park which the away side won 3-2.

A police spokeswoman said: "Police are investigating an incident in the Inver Road area of Larne on Tuesday night. At around 10.10pm it was reported a 15-year-old female had been injured following an assault in the area. She was taken to hospital for treatment for her injuries. Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing."

The girl is understood to have been a Larne supporter and one fan on social media said she was in casualty until 4am and was "OK, just badly shaken".

It is not the first time elements attaching themselves to Ballymena have been involved in trouble. On November 18 there were clashes between a small minority of fans after a cup game between Ballymena United and Coleraine.

Larne and Ballymena United moved to condemn the latest violence, which has also been slammed by football fans who accept the vast majority of people attending the games are peace-loving.

Chairman of Larne FC, Archie Smyth said the incident was “despicable” and said the club was told before the game by police there is a "small element" going to Ballymena matches intent on causing trouble.

He added: "They are not true supporters and they marred what should have been a great night for the Ballymena fans who came to watch a game of football.

“We are now making moves to get in touch with this girl’s family to ensure she is OK.”

Ballymena United secretary Don Stirling said the club "wants to disassociate ourselves from this small group of thugs."

He added: "They are not real football fans, they are just looking for an excuse to fight. Their actions are absolutely disgusting and I hope the face the full rigours of the law.”

After trouble flared following the Ballymena versus Coleraine game in Ballymena on November 18 supporters condemned the actions of "rogue elements".

Two arrests were made on that date and a PSNI chief said at the time more could follow. There were reports from eye-witnesses of "hand-to-hand fighting" between supporters following the November game at at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

After that game, Ballymena United's official fan clubs released a joint statement condemning the trouble.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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