The wait is over; Lifford man Shay Given has been named the Donegal Person of the Year. The announcement took place in The Black Door Piano Bar on Harcourt Street in Dublin tonight and I was there to capture the event.
A big crowd gathered at the Harcourt Hotel for the announcement. So many familiar faces that I meet every year that always support this event.
Shay was there with his family and was thrilled to receive this prestigious award. A great ambassador for Donegal and 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 Seamus 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 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.
Looking forward to the big night when Shay Given will be inaugurated as The Donegal Person of the Year 2017 at the Donegal Person of the Year Gala Ball on Saturday, 3rd of March in The Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin 4. Night. Tickets are limited so please contact 087 255 4966 or 087 641 9419 to reserve your tickets or contact any committee member.