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County's tribute to Donegal GAA stalwart Pat Shovelin

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A minute's silence was held at all GAA matches in Donegal over the weekend to mark the passing of former county goalkeeping coach, Pat Shovelin.

The Ardara clubman succumbed to an aggressive strain of liver cancer on Saturday, leaving behind his wife Chrissie and children Ethan and Tom. He was an integral part of Jim McGuinness' county set-up when they won the All-Ireland title in 2012, and remained until McGuinness left the county scene at the end of 2014, winning three Ulster titles.

Despite suffering from his illness, Shovelin was part of Declan Bonner's backroom team that captured the Ulster Under-21 title earlier this year.

The Donegal county board paid tribute to Shovelin in a statement: "Pat was one of Gaelic games' most popular figures in the North West - ever since he first came to wider prominence under Jim McGuinness' successful tenure with Donegal seniors and U21s where he played a significant part in their provincial and, of course, All-Ireland success.

"Pat's ability as a goalkeeping coach was obvious. But his personality and kindness eclipsed all of that. He was special. He was a genuine soul that will never be forgotten. His ability to remain positive and productive right up until the last number of weeks is an example to us all.

"Even towards the end of last season, when illness began to take a real grip, Pat remained part of the U21 set-up under Declan Bonner as the side delivered Ulster success. Captain Eoghan Ban Gallagher made sure that Pat was up alongside him as he claimed the provincial prize. It was a beautiful gesture."

Donegal captain Michael Murphy tweeted: "Pat Shovelin you will be hugely missed.

"Always loyal and forever positive no matter what the situation. A perfect friend and teammate. RIP."

Donegal GAA's Eoghan Ban Gallagher added: "It's absolutely devastating. We're all heartbroken.

"Pat was such a great person."

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