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Larne boss hits out over 'vile' player abuse during Glentoran game

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Inconsolable: Conor Devlin

Inconsolable: Conor Devlin

Inconsolable: Conor Devlin

Football fans are being urged to remember players are human beings after one was subjected to "vile" abuse at the Larne-Glentoran match on Saturday, at which the late Jerry Thompson's family were guests.

Former Larne, Portadown and Carrick Rangers player Thompson took his own life last month.

Larne goalkeeper Conor Devlin was said to be inconsolable following the weekend 2-1 win after being abused throughout.

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch said that it was "disgusting for any human being to get that abuse".

"It's not because Conor is one of my players," he added.

"Conor is a human being and I don't think a human being deserves to be treated the way he was yesterday. I don't think anyone wants the abuse at a football game. Some of the things shouted at Conor were nothing short of vile.

"Jerry's family was at the game yesterday and that made the situation with Conor more apparent.

"We won a fantastic football game last night with a last minute goal but the manner of the victory was taken away because of the situation with Conor."

A Glentoran spokesperson said: "Glentoran FC fully understands that passions run high between some players and supporters and that banter and interaction is all a core part of the game. However, we would urge supporters of all clubs to avoid crossing the line between banter and abuse that damages both the game and individuals within the game."

Jerry Thompson's death prompted three Glentoran fans who have struggled with their mental health to start a new Twitter account, Irish League Mental Health Awareness, encouraging others to share their stories and seek help.

"There's no point having these mental health pages, supporting players and helping them through mental issues if people are going to abuse players from the stands," Lynch said.

"If it was racist or sectarian, people would be all over it."

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