TRIBUTES have been paid to former Carlisle United striker Paul Bannon, who has died aged 59.

The Dubliner, a favourite at Brunton Park from 1978 to 1983, passed away in his native Ireland.

Bannon scored 45 goals in 140 appearances for the Brunton Park club.

He had spells at Nottingham Forest and Bridgend Town before joining the Cumbrians under Bobby Moncur.

He also played under Martin Harvey and Bob Stokoe at United, and was part of the Blues side that won promotion to Division Two in 1982 before later turning out for Darlington, Bristol Rovers, Cardiff and Plymouth.

He later moved to NAC Breda in Holland and then Greek clubs PAOK and AE Larissa, before ending his playing career back in Ireland with Cork City and Cobh Ramblers.

Carlisle chairman Andrew Jenkins said today: "We were all shocked to hear this news as Paul was still a young man.

"He spent close to five seasons with us and he scored his fair share of very good goals.

"I remember him being described as gangly and very difficult and awkward to handle, and everyone at the club got on very well with him.

"Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time."

Bannon's other former clubs have joined in the tributes, with Cork saluting the player who scored a title-winning goal in 1993, having also played for the club against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup.

He spent the latter part of his career at centre-half.

After retiring Bannon was involved with a youth academy in Cork.