Police say fan trouble ‘has no place in football’ after Ballymena Court hears number of men have pleaded guilty to offences at high-profile match

Ballymena Court

POLICE have said fan trouble at stadiums in Northern Ireland “has no place in football or in any sport”.

A spokesperson was speaking after a number of Coleraine FC fans pleaded guilty at Ballymena Magistrates Court to be being disorderly following incidents at last season’s televised Irish Cup Quarter-Final match away to Larne at Inver Park.

The men each pleaded guilty to a single charge of disorderly behaviour in relation to incidents in and around the ground on Friday March 1 this year when Coleraine won 5-3.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court, Barry Hegarty (34), of Shell Hill Court, Coleraine; Adam Lee Rankin (28), of Loguestown Green, Coleraine and Christopher Cunning (22), of Kilraughts Road, Ballymoney, were each fined £500.

Others have had sentencing adjourned to mid-November. They are Darryl James Stirling (27), of Taylors Row, Coleraine; Aaron Knight (26), of Glebe Avenue, Coleraine; Christopher Robert John Boreland (22), of Lakeside Court, Coleraine; Matthew Montgomery (21), of Dunboe Gardens, Articlave and Rhys Hutchinson (20), of Farranseer Park, Macosquin;

At an earlier court sitting David Edgar (23) and Jack Gault (21), both with addresses at Dundooan Park in Coleraine, had disorderly behaviour charges withdrawn when they accepted cautions.

Three of the men – Rankin, Stirling and Hutchinson – had originally also faced a second charge of displaying written material which was ‘threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to stir up hatred or arouse fear’ but that charge was withdrawn against all three.

Following the latest Court, the PSNI North Coast Facebook page said: ‘Earlier this year we arrested a number of people in relation to disorder and other offences at a football match at Inver Park in Larne involving so-called supporters of Coleraine FC.

‘This type of behaviour has no place in football or in any sport and we welcome the support of all clubs who are committed to holding their fans to a higher standard’.

In March, Coleraine FC had issued a statement saying: ‘Coleraine FC has always prided itself on being a community club and welcoming to all in our community.

‘The club enjoys support from all sections of the community, from differing faiths and ethnicity. We totally condemn the behaviour of a very small minority of persons at the game on Friday Night at Larne FC.

‘Their behaviour, actions and display of racist slogans is not reflective of Coleraine FC or the vast majority of Bannsiders, who displayed great support for the club and added to the spectacle at the ground and on TV.’

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