Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland football fan banned from games for three years

A supposed football supporter who was “as full as a sheuch” when he assaulted a steward at Mourneview Park was banned from attending any football match for three years on Friday.

As well as the football banning order, District Judge Bernie Kelly fined 26-year-old Michael Donnelly £350 with a warning that if he failed to pay it, he faced 14 days in jail.

At Craigavon Magistrates Court Donnelly, from Balloo Walk in Bangor, pleaded guilty to a single count of common assault against Stephen Bartley on 28 August 2015.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court Donnelly had attended the match between Glentoran and Glenavon and had been “put out” of Mourneview Park when he tried to force his way back in, assaulting Mr Bartley in the process.

Donnelly was ejected again, put on a bus home and there were no further incidents, the court heard.

Judge Kelly asked defence counsel Andrew Langley “presumably your client was as full as a sheuch at the time?”

“Maybe that’s too colloquial,” added the judge the the lawyer confirmed Donnelly was so intoxicated “he has very little memory of the events.”

“He remembers being dragged out of the ground after he had lost his friends,” said Mr Langley adding that Donnelly had travelled down with the North Down Glentoran Supporters Club.

“I actually do know football supporters,” said Judge Kelly, telling the lawyer a friend had flown to Manchester on Wednesday evening and returned immediately after the match “to go back to work on Thursday morning".

Donnelly, declared the judge, “is not a football supporter” given that he had gone to a match “full drunk and starts a row at the ground - that’s not a supporter.”

As part of the three year football banning order, the first Judge Kelly says she’s ever handed down, Donnelly is banned from attending any football match for three years and is not allowed near any football stadium for two hours before or after a game.

“He can watch it on the tele,” quipped the judge.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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