Hundreds of mourners will turn out in the sleepy Donegal village of Doneyloop today to say a final farewell to Pat Shovelin.
The 41-year-old passed away on Saturday at his home in Doneyloop.
Tributes have streamed in since the weekend when the Ardara man lost his battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer he fought with such bravery and dignity over the past 10 months.
He was goalkeeping coach when Donegal won the All-Ireland in 2012 and was at Jim McGuinness’s side for the duration of his tenure as manager. Just a couple of weeks ago, McGuinness flew in from Beijing and spent a lot of time with him in hospital.
This year, in spite of the terminal illness that was raging inside of him, he summonsed the strength and courage to remain involved and was the coach to Donegal’s Under-21 goalkeepers for their Ulster Under-21 Championship win.
A bubbly character whose positive, smiling attitude, mixed with a mischievous sense of devilment and craic, made him one of the most loved figures in Donegal GAA.
“He was really popular and you could see why,” Donegal senior manager Declan Bonner said.
“He was a top class goalkeeping coach. That’s what he was. He was outstanding and so professional.
“He was an outstanding fella. He was a real proud Ardara man, a real proud Donegal man and an outstanding family man.”
He worked in the medical records department at Letterkenny University Hospital, where his popularity was no less.
A proud family man, too, he is survived by wife Chrissie, Sons Ethan and Tom, mother Margaret, sister Susie, brothers Michael and Gavin and a wide family circle.
Former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given – who became close friends with Pat in recent years – attended the wake, with the volumes of people showing just how high esteem he was held.
Stewards from local GAA clubs manned the traffic flow and parking, such was the sheer numbers that turned out to sympathise with the family of a man described by Donegal captain Michael Murphy as ‘a perfect friend and team-mate’.
After Funeral Mass at St Columba’s Church, Donnyloop, he will be laid to rest in St Conal’s graveyard, Kilclooney, Portnoo.Tags: