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Mother of Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern passes away

 

By Steven Alexander

The "inspirational" mother of Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 hero goalkeeper Michael McGovern has passed away.

Carmel McGovern died peacefully at her Enniskillen home yesterday afternoon.

Mrs McGovern is survived by her husband Terry and was the mother of Michael, Joseph, Aine, Briege and Catherine. It is understood Mrs McGovern, who was in her early 60s, had been battling cancer for some time.

She had worked as a nurse in the cardiac unit at the South West Acute Hospital, a family friend said. Despite her illness, Mrs McGovern travelled to France last year for the European Championships to cheer Michael on.

The 32-year-old's family, including parents Carmel and Terry, wife Leanne and son Kieran, were at the Parc des Princes in Paris for Northern Ireland's match against Germany. To the delight of family and fans, McGovern produced a dazzling display of shot-stopping to restrict the world champions to a single goal. Gerard Connolly, secretary of Enniskillen Town United, where Michael started his career, said the news was heartbreaking.

"She was a lovely lady," he said.

"I remember when Michael was at Celtic, I was at a Champions League game and met her outside a Celtic shop. Someone said to her that she must be very proud of Michael, and she replied that she was very proud of all her children."

Mr Connolly said Mrs McGovern was known as a very caring nurse, and took a keen interest in her patients. He added: "She will be missed by family and friends in the wider community."

Former Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom described Mrs McGovern as a "warm and wonderful woman".

She attended the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards in February to see Michael claim the George Best Breakthrough trophy.

"It was a proud night for all the family. Mrs McGovern was an inspirational lady to her whole family, and it was a pleasure to spend time with her," said Steven.

Fermanagh MLA Arlene Foster said she was very sorry to hear the news. "The McGovern family are very well regarded in Fermanagh and the whole community will be greatly saddened by this news. My deepest sympathy to Michael, his dad and all the family," she said.

Mrs McGovern's remains will leave her home on Saturday at 10.15am to arrive at St Michael's Church, Darling Street, Enniskillen for requiem mass at 11am. Burial will be at Cross Cemetery.

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