Belfast Celtic defend Jay Donnelly signing

Former Cliftonvill striker Jay Donnelly has signed for Belfast Celtic
Former Cliftonvill striker Jay Donnelly has signed for Belfast Celtic
Share this article

Belfast Celtic have defended the signing of Jay Donnelly saying they "believe in second chances" after confirming the former Cliftonville striker had joined the club.

Donnelly (24) served a three-month prison sentence last year for distributing an indecent image of a child.

But in a statement released today, the Ballymena Intermediate League side said joint managers Stephen McAlorum and Paddy Kelly have "offered Jay the chance to rebuild his career with us which the club fully back".

"Jay’s past is well documented and after being out of the game for nearly two years he is eligible to play football once again.

"Stephen McAlorum and Paddy Kelly believe in second chances and have offered Jay the chance to rebuild his career with us which the club fully back.

"Whilst everyone is expected to follow policies and code of conducts set by the club, the manager is in total control of footballing matters including signings and team selection.

"Belfast Celtic is committed to providing opportunities for talented players to express their skills and abilities, where they are supported by a determined coaching squad and a caring pastor throughout both their physical and mental development."

Cliftonville sacked the 24-year-old after he was given his prison sentence.

He was also charged by the Irish FA with bringing the game into disrepute and suspended from playing football until 1 September 2019.

His original sentence was reduced by an appeal judge to three months in April last year.