Fylde mourn death of Brendan Hanavan

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Fylde RFC officials and players past and present are mourning the death of former winger Brendan Hanavan, praised as one of the best players in the history of the club.

Hanavan, a prolific try-scorer, died after a lengthy fight against oral cancer.

He scored 198 triies in 324 Fylde appearances.

His best season was in 1986-7 when he scored 49 tries in 40 matches- that was in an era when Fylde were playing top-flight rugby.

Current coach Mark Nelson, who played against Hanavan while with Vale Of Lune, said: “Fylde has lost one of its great players.

“I played against him many times - he was an exciting player and quick off the mark with a great body swerve, and he played at a time when the club had two other outstanding wingers in Mark Preston and Greg Anderton.

“He was a great player and an excellent bloke and he fought his vile illness with the courage you would expect of a rugby player.”

Hanavan took part in a memorable trip to London last year when he was joined by former Fylde colleagues to watch the current team play - and win - in the capital.

Nelson said: “It was a great day and there must have been around 60 or 70 former players and friends and we hired a double-decker bus to take us from Euston Station to the ground.

“Blackheath was one of the teams that Brendan liked to play against the most, and always seemed to score against them. It is ironic we are playing them on Saturday.

“I am sure there will be a fitting tribute to him that the club will organise.”

Hanavan made his debut for Fylde in the 1981-2 season in a match against London Scottish - he scored a try in the 22-15 win.

His last match for Fylde was in 1998.

Hanavan also played for Lancashire and British Police, as well as the Irish Wolfhounds.

He leaves a widow Maria and a young daughter Ailish.