Leinster to honour young supporter Liam Hagan who sadly passed away

The 8-year-old had a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa

Leinster to honour young supporter Liam Hagan who sadly passed away

©INPHO/James Crombie

Leinster fans will pay tribute to a young rugby supporter who passed away after being selected to lead the team out against Connacht in a Pro12 fixture at the RDS Arena on Saturday.

Liam Hagan was born with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), which is a genetic disease that causes skin, both inside and out, to blister at the slightest touch.

The 8-year-old from Monaghan had a severe form of the disease, which left 80% of his body covered in open wounds.

Adam McCormick, his cousin and best friend will lead the team out in his memory.

That will be part of a wider effort to raise awareness that involves Debra Ireland. At the Connacht match they will be handing out butterfly tattoos and are asking supporters to wear the butterfly in a show of support for Liam and other families fighting EB.

"This is EB Awareness Week and Liam, being a rugby nut despite the pain he felt every time he touched a ball, was the obvious choice as mascot for Saturday's match," said Debra Ireland’s Judith Gilsenan.

"EB is often described as 'butterfly skin' because the skin is as fragile as a butterfly's wing, and just as easily damaged. Saturday is still Liam's day and we are asking people all over the country to wear a butterfly temporary tattoo for him and all families fighting the battle with EB."

Leinster and Ireland back-row Sean O'Brien also urged fans to get involved in the initiative.

"Liam is the toughest little guy we have ever come across and it is very sad that he won’t be with us on Saturday but we will make sure that Adam has a great day and we will remember Liam and our thoughts are with his family," he said.

"It would be great if our supporters acknowledged Liam and supported Debra Ireland at the game."

Anyone wishing to support Debra Ireland during #EBAwarenessWeek is asked to text BUTTERFLY to 50300 to donate €4 and Debra Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25 from every donation.

For more information about Debra Ireland, please visit the website.