Irish League footballer Jay Donnelly has been jailed for sharing an indecent image of a minor, after a judge hearing his sentence appeal in Belfast County Court reduced his term from four months to three.

Cliftonville striker Donnelly, 23, of Ardilea Drive in Belfast, admitted the charge last November at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Donnelly had been on bail pending the outcome of the appeal against his original sentence.

Judge David McFarland said a custodial sentence was appropriate, insisting the need for the case to act as a "deterrent" to others.

In June 2016, Donnelly took a photograph of himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl who was wearing a Cliftonville shirt with his name and number on the back.

He shared the image with a friend and with a number of fellow players on the messaging service WhatsApp. It was later leaked on social media.

A prosecutor said she was left humiliated and was subjected to verbal abuse on the street as a consequence.

Judge McFarland said the incident had had a deep and lasting impact on the victim.

He said Donnelly had treated the girl as a "sexual conquest or trophy" and had taken and shared the picture to "boast about his sexual exploits to friends".

The judge noted that the image would be online forever.

"It remains forever on the worldwide web, it's incapable of deletion," he said.

The judge said the picture content fell into the most serious category of indecent images of children.

He said aggravating factors in the case were the impact on the child and the fact Donnelly created the image himself.

In mitigation, the judge factored in Donnelly's previously clear record, his remorse, his age, the degree of verbal abuse he had suffered and the fact he pleaded guilty.

"You created the image and were responsible for distributing to wider group and, indirectly through that group, on to the worldwide web," he told Donnelly.

Donnelly showed no emotion as he was told he was going to jail.