Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly has been handed a four-month prison sentence for distributing an indecent image of a child.
Donnelly, 23, of Ardilea Drive in Ardoyne, was convicted of the charge last November at Belfast Magistrates Court.
The court heard that Donnelly shared the image, which featured a 16-year-old girl, with a friend and ten other players in a WhatsApp group.
The footballer has also been placed on the sex offenders’ register. He was released on bail pending appeal.
An NSPCC Northern Ireland spokesperson said sharing indecent images of a child is a serious offence, reflected in the custodial sentence imposed on Donnelly by the court.
“The children in images distributed in this way are victims of crime and the NSPCC is campaigning for more to be done to prevent adults from sharing such material on social media and for providers to do more to remove it from their platforms,” added the spokesperson.