Player who headbutted opponent on pitch avoids jail
An amateur footballer who headbutted and broke the nose of an opponent during a match has walked free from court.
Railway worker Colin McClean (37), of Waterloo Gardens, Larne, was given four months in jail, suspended for a year, at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
McClean was playing for Northern Amateur Football League side Newington Rangers against Holywood FC on January 24, 2015, when the assault occurred.
A prosecutor said after a tackle McClean, who had a clean record, shouted at the opponent and headbutted him on the nose before being sent off by the referee.
Defence barrister Neil Moore said an eyewitness claimed the injured party had been feisty on the football pitch, and a sliding tackle he made had been full-blooded and if he had made contact with the accused it could have resulted in a serious injury.
District Judge Peter King said he would view it as "a blip", and ordered him to pay £350 compensation to his opponent.