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Belfast Harlequins fans asked to support fundraiser for Fintan Hillyard

By Stuart McKinley

A fundraising event for a seriously ill Belfast Harlequins player is being staged tomorrow at Deramore.

The aim is to raise money for 28-year-old Fintan Hillyard who has stage four Metastastic Melanoma, a form of skin cancer. He has been treated in a number of UK hospitals and is currently undergoing treatment in Frankfurt.

Last month the former Methodist College and Belfast Harlequins forward's close friends, Edward Hamilton and Matthew Mullan, set about raising funds for his treatment. To date the total raised is £30,000.

Tomorrow's fundraiser gets under way at 9am with mini-rugby. That will be followed by a mixed tag competition, with the day culminating in a sevens tournament.

It was while playing for Harlequins 15 months ago that Fintan collapsed on the pitch, giving rise to his condition being diagnosed.

A graduate of Edinburgh University, Fintan was a 2001 Medallion Shield winner with Methody, scoring against Ballymena Academy in the final. He went on to represent the Malone Road school at 1st XV level and was a member of MCB's senior team for three seasons.

The organisers of tomorrow's day-long event are hopeful that in addition to his club and former Methody colleagues, the Ulster rugby family as a whole will turn out in sizeable numbers.

Certainly the response from some of the province's leading sports personalities suggests there will be no lack of support or goodwill.

Lots for an auction including former Ulster skipper Johann Muller's signed jersey from the 2011/2012 season, a framed Ryder Cup shirt signed by Darren Clarke, Rory Mcllroy and Graeme McDowell and a Surrey top signed by former Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting.

In addition to the various rugby events there will be a variety of activities throughout the day – face painting, a barbeque, a raffle and the aforementioned auction among them.

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