Northern Ireland

Former Republic international pleads guilty to grievous bodily harm on Cliftonville player

Former Portadown player was extradited from the Republic after breaking Caoimhin Bonner’s jaw

Former Portadown player was extradited from the Republic after breaking Caoimhin Bonner’s jaw
Former Portadown player Ken Oman was extradited from the Republic after breaking Caoimhin Bonner’s jaw during an Irish league game in 2016

A former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international footballer has avoided jail for breaking an opponent’s jaw during a match.

Ken Oman, 41, admitted elbowing Caoimhin Bonner in the mouth while playing for Portadown FC against north Belfast side Cliftonville FC seven years ago.

Oman, of Glasnevin Downs in Dublin, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for three years.

The decorated ex-central defender appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday following his extradition from the Republic.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Bonner during an Irish Premiership match on December 10, 2016.

The court heard that the victim, playing for Cliftonville at the time, reported being injured after he contested and headed the ball away from Oman.

Ex-Portadown player Ken Oman who broke Cliftonville man’s jaw during match given suspended sentence
Pacemaker Belfast 10-12-16 Cliftonville v Portadown - Danske Bank Premiership Cliftonville's Caoimhin Bonner during todays game at Solitude, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press Discipline Committee - Ken Oman Just to let you know the Discipline Committee received correspondence from Evan Boyce (Referee) and Cliftonville in relation to the Ken Oman elbow on Saturday. The Committee considered the correspondence together with the video footage and decided to charge Ken Oman with a breach of Article 18.11 of the Disciplinary Code (assault or battery of an opponent) and sanction him with a 6 match ban and £100 fine on the club. (David Maginnis/PMAKER)

“The defendant lashed out and elbowed the injured party in the mouth area which resulted in the injured party sustaining a broken upper jaw and losing two front teeth,” a prosecution lawyer said.

Oman received a six-match ban from the Irish Football Association following the incident.

Although an extradition warrant was issued last year, he voluntarily surrendered to face prosecution in Northern Ireland.

Oman, who represented the Republic of Ireland four times at Under-21 level, also played for Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic before finishing his senior footballing career with Portadown.

He won three League of Ireland titles and three FAI cups along with other honours.

A defence solicitor told the court he now works as a taxi driver in Dublin.

In a plea for leniency, she stressed that the footballing authorities had already “punished” Oman through the ban imposed after the incident.

District Judge Steven Keown held that the offence was serious enough for a custodial sentence.

But based on Oman’s previous clear record and early acceptance of guilt, he decided not to impose immediate imprisonment.

“There will be six months custody, suspended for three years in respect of this matter,” Judge Keown confirmed.

He added: “I have no doubt this unfortunate victim will be securing compensation through the appropriate channels.”