Northern Ireland

Portadown FC: Bans and suspended sentences for rioters

Kyle Russell leaving Newry Courthouse Image copyright Donal McMahon
Image caption Kyle Russell (second from left) leaving Newry Courthouse on Wednesday

Three Portadown FC supporters have received bans and suspended sentences for their part in a violent clash at Newry City show grounds in 2018.

The brawl, captured on CCTV, showed two of the fans stamping on a Newry supporter after he was pushed to the ground.

Thousands of pounds of damage was also caused to parked cars as rioting fans spilled out on to the car park.

An aggressive scene of "chanting and bottle throwing" was captured on CCTV.

Appearing at Newry Crown Court on Wednesday, the three defendants - Kyle Russell, 24, of Lacehill Park in Portadown, Matthew Lewis, 25, of Ulsterville Park and Gary Connolly, 52, of Gilford Road - pleaded guilty to affray.

Previous record

Lewis and Russell also pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the same date.

Russell's criminal record showed that he previously received a caution and fine for similar behaviour during a 2015 Portadown v Coleraine match.

All three defendants appeared with packed bags following a warning that their offending had crossed the custodial threshold.

In the footage, bank worker Lewis and quality inspector Russell were seen kicking and stamping on the same man, who sustained bruising on his face, chest and back.

Connolly, who had an "effectively clear record", was seen as being less involved in the attack. He has since resigned from his role at the Portadown FC Supporters Club.

Match bans

Russell was banned from attending football matches for five years with his co-accused Lewis banned for three years.

Both men were sentenced to two years and six months suspended for two years and ordered to pay £750 compensation.

Connolly was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years, but did not receive a match ban.