We were saddened to learn of the death, on Monday, of former Rovers player Paul Bannon, at the age of 59.
Born in Dublin on 15th November 1956, Paul was the son of Seamus, a senior inter county hurler with Tipperary, and Sally Bannon.
In a long career that began with Nottingham Forest, he turned out for Corby Town, Ammanford Town, Bridgend Town, Carlisle United and Darlington before arriving at Eastville in January 1984.
He later played for Cardiff City and Plymouth Argyle before moving abroad to play in Holland and Greece.
The moustachioed striker scored in three consecutive home games for Rovers in the spring of 1984 and added a hat trick for the reserves against Swindon Town reserves that March.
Unable to make the grade with Nottingham Forest, he had enjoyed Gaelic football for O’Rahilly’s and scored 11 goals in 38 matches with Corby, where he was suspended by the club on more than one occasion. A team mate of Peter Beardsley at Carlisle, his début came in a 2-1 defeat against Bury in February 1979 and he appeared in both games against Rovers in the 1981/82 season. He scored in three consecutive home fixtures in the spring of 1984 and a goal in the 1984 Gloucestershire Cup Final brought his overall tally with Rovers into double figures.
During his time in Greece he was joint top scorer at Thessalonikis, as his club finished third in the table, and his goal tally included a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over Lavadiakos on Valentine’s Day 1988, before his transfer to champions Larissa.
Returning to live in Ireland, he later appeared for Cork City in the UEFA Cup, his appearances in this competition including an October 1991 fixture away to Bayern Munich. He scored the goal against St Patrick’s Athletic which took Cork to the 1992 FAI Cup Final which was lost 1-0 to Bohemians and, in his final appearance for City, added the goal which secured the 1992/93 League title.
Playing local football until the age of 47 and then coaching youngsters, Paul Bannon was living in County Cork with his wife Helen and their daughter Heather at the time of his death and our thoughts are with them and his wider circle of family and friends at this sad time.