Shay Given paid tribute to “a true gentleman and best friend” Pat Shovelin, who was laid to rest today, writes Stephen Barry.
The goalkeeping coach during Donegal’s All-Ireland victory in 2012 passed away on Saturday, aged 41, following a battle with a rare but aggressive form of liver cancer.
Donegal’s Pat Shovelin and Jim McGuinness after their All-Ireland semi-final victory over Dublin at Croke park in 2014. Picture: Mark Marlow
The Sam Maguire Cup was present at his funeral in St Columba’s Church, Doneyloop, where Shovelin was honoured with a guard of honour by Donegal players.
Former Ireland football international Given posted an emotion tribute on Instagram, alongside two photos – one of Given and Shovelin smiling by the sea; the other of Given shouldering Shovelin’s coffin, which is draped in an Ardara GAA club jersey.
“Today was up there with one of the hardest of my life. Pat Shovelin. Only 41. A true gentleman. A best friend. A loving husband. A proud father to his two boys, Ethan (5) and Tom (1). A fellow Donegal man and a fellow goalkeeper,” wrote Given.
“I never expected to have to carry you in a coffin, carry you out of the pub yes, but this, no. Our hearts are broken. Whole county in mourning.
“We will all be strong for you Pat, the happiest man who I ever met, you would want us to be strong for you, and we will. God Rest you. Love you Pat”.
Shovelin continued to contribute to the Donegal set-up during his illness, helping the county’s U21 footballers to an Ulster title in April.