A DISTRICT judge has remanded a 22-year-old into custody over a so-called ‘one-punch attack on popular Derry footballer Niall Grace at the weekend.
Matthew McDermott is accused of assaulting Institute FC play Mr Grace.
The PSNI said the assault happened at 12.45 am on Sunday morning in Waterloo Street.
Mr Grace, from the Shantallow area of the city, remains in a critical condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he is an induced coma to try and alleviate the swelling to his brain.
He was transferred a specialist head trauma team in Belfast from Altnagelvin Hospital..
McDermott, from Cornshell Fields in the city, is accused of grievous bodily harm with intent.
He was also charged with possession of the Class A drug ecstasy contrary to the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.
It is alleged a fight broke out between the victim and the defendant outside a city centre bar.
The incident was caught on a CCTV security system.
The footage allegedly shows both men throwing a punch before the victim fell and struck his head on the pavement – an incident of so-called ‘one punch’ assault.
McDermott was remanded in custody over fears for his own safety given the public reaction and outrage at the assault.
He was later taken away in a prison van to a remand unit until his next court appearance.
Institute FC has expressed support for Mr Grace in a tweet, saying the club’s “thoughts and prayers” were with him.
In another message of support on Twitter, Harland and Wolff Welders football club said: “Our thoughts are with Niall Grace and the wider @Institute_FC family and hope Niall makes a full and speedy recovery from his injuries.”