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Disgraced footballer Jay Donnelly reveals he is going to be a dad weeks after prison release

The ex-Cliftonville star shared the news online.

Jay Donelly and partner Rachael Campbell
Jay Donelly and partner Rachael Campbell

By Jane Fletcher for Sunday Life

Shamed footballer Jay Donnelly, who was jailed for distributing an indecent image of an underage girl, has revealed he is to become a dad.

Last month, the ex-Cliftonville star walked free from Maghaberry prison after serving eight weeks for sharing a picture of him having sex with a teenage girl.

Donnelly was sent to jail in April after a judge reduced his initial six-month term to four months, of which he only had to serve half behind bars.

In a post on social media, Donnelly - who was sacked by Cliftonville FC after he was jailed - has now admitted he is still undergoing counselling due to a three-year mental health battle.

He has also posted a photo of himself with his arms around pregnant long-term girlfriend Rachael Campbell's tummy and scans of their new baby, due in December.

He told his 2,108 followers he was "beyond excited" at the prospect of becoming a daddy.

The north Belfast man (24) wrote he had just returned from a 10-day holiday with Rachael, saying they had needed just to get away and relax.

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He added: "Our new year started from here, a fresh start and to finally celebrate our amazing news of our little miracle. I can't wait to get back to find out the gender of our baby, exciting times from here on in and also get my head down and figure out where my head's at with my football career."

 

Donnelly added: "I'm not ashamed to admit it and put it out there that I suffered in a very dark place, it was a very tough time but my friends, my family and my girlfriend got me the help I needed and even strangers reached out to me with their kind advice of how to move forward and to keep going.

"I am still continuing my counselling now to keep myself getting stronger, It's okay to talk about your mental wellbeing and emotions, we're only human!

"I am here for anyone that needs to talk or an ear to listen. Please reach out and give me a mail. I am here for anyone that needs to talk.

"I have even more reason to get back out there and not give up the thing I love doing, playing football, for my little one to have me to look up to and cheer me on out there on the pitch. These famous words that Rachael always said to me through everything, and it ended up my motto, was 'It's a minor setback for a major comeback.'

"I'm ready, let's go."

In an earlier post he wrote: "I am so so happy I can finally announce the amazing news that me and Rachael Campbell are going to have a little baby... I can't even put into words my feelings !!!

"I am beyond excited to be a daddy and it couldn't be with a more special person than my love Rachael, a new beginning for me and to start it off with this a little miracle that has helped me get through these past couple of months, I just can't wait to meet this little angel in December."

Donnelly took a photo of a 16-year-old girl while having sex with her at a house in 2016, and though she asked him to delete it, he went on to share it in a WhatsApp group with other Cliftonville players.

The young woman said when the image was leaked on social media she suffered abuse in the street and felt humiliated.

Donnelly has yet to update his Facebook profile concerning his dismissal by Cliftonville FC.

The profile still states that he's a forward with the club even though his contract was terminated in April after his jail sentence was confirmed.

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