Salford Red Devils provided a cancer patient with a day to remember as he inspired the team ahead of their victory over Castleford.
Loyal fan Anthony McConaghy, 61, was presented a special invite by the club and was asked to carry the match ball out when the Red Devils defeated Castleford 13-12.
Mr McConaghy, a supporter for 30 years, is defying doctors after being told he had three to six months to live over a year ago.
The day was arranged after Salford season ticket holder Gaynor Lee, a volunteer at St Ann’s Hospice, asked the club if they could help Anthony, a day care patient at the charity’s site in Little Hulton.
Salford star Weller Hauraki and player welfare manager Gareth Carvell visited Mr McConaghy at the hospice where they presented him with a souvenir shirt.
They also invited him to the Super League match with Castleford, set with an executive box for family and friends before being asked the lead the two teams out.
His presence has a positive impact on the Red Devils, as they subsequently ended Castleford’s unbeaten start to the season.
“I had a wonderful day and can’t thank Salford and St Ann’s Hospice enough for making it happen. I’ve been a Salford fan for 30 years and was in tears at the surprise visit to the hospice,” Mr McConaghy said.
“I go to St Ann’s twice a week for complementary therapy for my cancer and the team there are superb – every visit is special and brings a smile to my face. Just over a year ago I was given between three and six months to live and I’m still here and fighting.”
Gaynor, from Stoneclough, Radcliffe, said: “My husband Neil and I are both season ticket holders and he contacted the club to see if they could do anything. Salford have been brilliant and it was great to see them win for Anthony.”