CONTROVERSIAL Sunderland and Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean has been banned from driving after being caught speeding at 95mph without a full driving licence.
The 23-year-old winger from Derry has been disqualified for three months and fined £700 (€820).
He was caught by police driving a Land Rover on the M2 close to the Rathbeg junction in Antrim.
He was driving at 95mph – 25mph over the 70mph limit and 50mph more than he was permitted to by law as he hadn't passed his driving test. He was subsequently charged with being an unaccompanied learner driver; driving in excess of 45mph; not displaying 'L' plates; and being on a motorway as a learner.
McClean, who gave his address to the court as Creggan Heights in Derry, was not present at the hearing at Antrim Magistrates' Court.
A prosecutor told the court that when stopped by police on July 26 of last year McClean made no reply. He was found to be driving with just a provisional licence and admitted all the offences during police interview.
Counsel for McClean said he had never been brought to the attention of the courts before.
"He is determined to fulfil his role as a role model, which is one upon him whether he accepts that or not. It is very much a harsh lesson learned," the court was told.
But the judge said it was "incumbent on the court to send out the message to young, inexperienced drivers, driving at excessive speed . . . cannot be considered in any way acceptable". A spokesperson for Sunderland was unavailable for comment.