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Man attacked with hammer following Belfast soccer derby

Man attacked with hammer following Belfast soccer derby

Police are investigating after a man was injured when he was attacked by a hammer-wielding gang on Saturday in an area of Belfast where there has been tension in recent years associated with football fans.

The PSNI said it was reported that at around 6.35pm a 20-year-old man was targeted by a gang of up to 10 people on Skegoneill Avenue in the north of the city, following Crusaders FC’s 1-0 victory over Cliftonville FC in the Northern Ireland Premiership.

Belfast Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) councillor Jolene Bunting alleged the attack happened "after Cliftonville supporters caused mayhem".

She added: "Around 30 men attacked homes and cars following the Crusaders vs Cliftonville match at Seaview on Saturday evening."

It has not, however, been confirmed if the attackers were associated in any way with Cliftonville, with one eye witness reported as saying he believes they were not Cliftonville fans.

The Irish League derby had ended before 5pm a short distance away, an ill-tempered affair which saw two players sent off and 11 yellow cards shown by the referee.

A large number of Cliftonville supporters used to walk along Skegoneill Avenue to and from games at the Seaview stadium on Shore Road, but their club now advises them not to do so.

Yesterday Cliftonville had not initially commented on the TUV allegations.

A PSNI statement said: "It was reported that at around 6.35pm a 20-year-old male was attacked by a group of youths on Skegoneill Avenue.

"He was knocked to the ground and struck with what is believed to have been a hammer.

"He sustained a suspected fracture wrist and swelling to his head and face as a result of the attack.

"A 17-year-old male was arrested a short time later on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and is currently in custody assisting police with their enquiries. It is believed that up to 10 people were involved."

Via Irish Independent