Shay Given named Donegal Person of the Year

He was called up by Mick McCarthy to play for Ireland at the age 19

Shay Given named Donegal Person of the Year

Shay Given at the home coming party for the Irish squad in Dublin's Phoenix Park in 2002 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Sportsperson Shay Given has been named as the Donegal Person of the Year for 2017.

Shay, who is from Lifford, is well known locally, nationally and internationally for his soccer career.

His autobiography 'Any Given Saturday' was shortlisted as the Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year.

Shay started his soccer career with Lifford Celtic and at the age of 15 and he moved to Glasgow Celtic.

He later went to Blackburn, Swindon, Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Stoke City.

At the age of 19, he was called up by Mick McCarthy to play for the Republic of Ireland.

This kick-started his 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.

He has previously spoken of the fact that he owes a great debt of gratitude to his upbringing in Donegal.

He 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 father.

Shay was also awarded the Freedom of Donegal in 2006.

"Epitomises the best in Donegal"

Shay is no stranger to charity work either, having been part of a charity football match that raised over stg£200,000 for the Grenfall Victims, and he added his signature to a golf bag in Letterkenny to raise funds for Bumbleance Service.

He also opened Donegal Centre for Independent Living in 2015 and donated personal memorabilia for an auction.

President of the Donegal Association, Hugh Harkin said: "Shay Given has been at the top of his profession and has attributed much of his success to his upbringing in Donegal.

"Shay has shown great determination, courage and honesty all through his successful career. He has also been extremely generous in sharing the fruits of his success, especially to cancer related charities which are very close to Shay's heart.

"In fact, I believe that Shay is a personality who epitomises the best in Donegal.

"We are very proud to have Shay Given as Donegal Person of the Year 2017 and are delighted that he is being added to the list of 39 illustrious members of Donegal Persons of the Year."