Cumann Thír Chonaill - Baile Átha Cliath

Donegal Association - Dublin

Donegal Person Of The Year

Shay Given, 2017 Donegal Person of the Year

The 2017 Donegal Person of the Year is well-known sportsperson, Shay Given.

Shay is well known locally, nationally and internationally for his soccer career and many people enjoyed learning more about Shay through his autobiography ‘Any Given Saturday’ which was shortlisted as the Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year 2017. Shay was born in 1976 and is the son of Séamus and the late Agnes Given. Shay’s mother Agnes sadly passed away when he was five years of age. Shay started his soccer career with Lifford Celtic and at the age of 15 he moved to Glasgow Celtic and later to Blackburn, Swindon, Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Stoke City. At the age of 19 Shay was called up by Mick McCarthy to play for the Republic of Ireland, this kick-started Shay’s international career which lasted 16 years. He followed in the footsteps of former Donegal Person of the Year, Packie Bonner in taking his place in the Republic of Ireland goals.

Shay has spoken in the past of the fact that he owes a great debt of gratitude to his upbringing in Donegal. Shay has said that some of the highlights of his youth include catching fish, using jumpers for goalposts, building bonfires for Halloween and gathering potatoes for his Dad. He has spoken of the many wonderful qualities of the county including the beautiful landscapes to the accents to the people themselves. In Shay’s recent Late Late Show appearance he spoke about Donegal in glowing terms and was proud to promote our county to wider audiences. Shay was awarded the Freedom of Donegal in 2006.

Shay’s father Séamus played Gaelic Football for Donegal which probably explains Shay’s keen interest in Donegal GAA and why he took time to train with the Donegal Squad in 2014. Shay shared this love of Donegal GAA and goalkeeping with his late friend Pat Shovelin who passed away in October of last year. Shay shared a lovely tribute to his best friend on social media describing the heart break of his passing.

Shay is no stranger to charity work either having been part of a charity football match that raised over £200,000 for the Grenfall Victims, he added his signature to a golf bag in Letterkenny to raise funds for Bumbleance Service. Shay opened Donegal Centre for Independent Living in 2015 and donated personal memorabilia for an auction. He was a contributor to the “Dear Sebastian” book and wrote a very personal letter. Shay raised in excess of £1million for cancer charities which are close to his heart after his mother’s death. This just reflects some of Shay’s charity work and conveys his willingness and support to charitable organisations.

Past Recipients of Donegal Persons of the Year:

2016…………………………………………………………….Stephen Mc Cahill
2015…………………………………………………………….Deirdre Mc Glone
2014…………………………………………………………….Moya Doherty
2013…………………………………………………………….Liam Ó Cuinneagáin
2012…………………………………………………………….Jim McGuinness
2011…………………………………………………………….Hugh Green & Ann Marie Ward
2010 ……………………………………………………………Brian Friel
2009 ……………………………………………………………Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
2008…………………………………………………………….Joe Mulholland
2007…………………………………………………………….John Carr
2006…………………………………………………………….Margo O’Donnell
2005 ……………………………………………………………Michael O’Donnell
2004 ……………………………………………………………Fr Michael Sweeney
2003…………………………………………………………….Jim McGettigan
2002 ……………………………………………………………Brid Rogers
2001…………………………………………………………….Patsy McGonagle
2000…………………………………………………………….Sir Gerry Robinson
1999…………………………………………………………….Joe Murrin
1998 ……………………………………………………………Paddy Harte
1997…………………………………………………………….Sean McGinley
1996 ……………………………………………………………Hugh Gallagher
1995 ……………………………………………………………Sean McEniff
1994 ……………………………………………………………Seán Ó hEochaidh
1993 ……………………………………………………………Charlie Bennett
1992 ……………………………………………………………Brian McEniff
1991 ……………………………………………………………Tomás Mac Fhionnghaile
1990…………………………………………………………….Packie Bonner
1989 ……………………………………………………………Daniel O’Donnell
1988…………………………………………………………….Fergus Cleary
1987 ……………………………………………………………Eamonn Doherty
1986 ……………………………………………………………Danny McDaid
1985…………………………………………………………….Peter McLean
1984 ……………………………………………………………Canon Tommy Doherty
1983…………………………………………………………….Willie Joe Cunningham
1982…………………………………………………………….Áine Ní Ghiolla Bhríde
1981 ……………………………………………………………Donal K O’Boyle
1980…………………………………………………………….Dermot Walsh
1979 ……………………………………………………………Larry Smith
1978 ……………………………………………………………Fr. James McDyer

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