An altercation between two Irish League footballers on Saturday night left one of the players in a Belfast hospital overnight, a leading football manager has claimed.
The incident, which happened at a nightclub in the Odyssey in the Queen’s Quay area of Belfast, is alleged to have involved Glentoran’s Jim O’Hanlon, 20 – who his manager said was the victim of the attack – and a Cliftonville player.
Mr O’Hanlon’s injuries are expected to see him excluded from games for a few weeks.
The News Letter has seen a picture of Mr O’Hanlon’s facial injuries which required staples to his head.
Yesterday, the News Letter made a number of attempts to contact a Cliftonville footballer alleged of causing the injury, and Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin.
But no response was forthcoming.
However, last night Cliftonville chairman, Gerard Lawlor, whom we also contacted for comment, said: “I am not aware of any incident.”
Last night Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson said: “I got a phone call telling me one of our young players was hospitalised last night after being assaulted in a nightclub.
“I was told he was kept in hospital overnight and got staples in his head.”
Mr Patterson added that he understood that Mr O’Hanlon got out of hospital around 11am yesterday “after being kept in for observations over his head wound”.
It is unclear who initiated the confrontation and whether the other party was injured.
However, Mr Patterson – a former manager of Cliftonville – added: “Jim O’Hanlon wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s an affable young lad who loves life and is happy go lucky.
“It’s not in his nature to start a fight.
“This is something that should not happen.
“I can’t believe it knowing the kind of person that he is and I do condemn it.”
Mr Patterson said he believed the injuries Mr O’Hanlon sustained will “take him out of football for a couple of weeks”.
“We have a very important game on Tuesday night which he is not going to be part of, which is a shame after such a good result yesterday [Saturday].”
Last night a PSNI spokesman said they had received a report about an assault.
“Police received a report on the afternoon of Sunday January 12 of an assault at a premises in the Queen’s Quay area of Belfast sometime the previous evening,” he said.
“It is reported that a 20-year-old man was assaulted by another man and required medical treatment for his injuries which are not life threatening.”