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Shay Given book signing in Letterkenny this Sunday

Shay Given stops for a photo with young Eamon Russell during a visit to Drumoghill recently. Shay will be in Letterkenny on Sunday signing copies of his autobiography ‘Any Given Saturday’.

IRELAND goalkeeper Shay Given will be in Letterkenny this weekend signing copies of his new autobiography.

‘Any Given Saturday’ traces the Lifford man’s rise from doing nets on the streets of his native Lifford to carving out an impressive career for a string of English Premiership sides as well as clinching 134 international caps for his country.

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Prior to his rise to the top of the beautiful game though, the 41-year-old gives a moving insight into the loss of his mother, Agnes, who was the same age as Shay is now when she passed away from cancer.

He recalls her time in hospital, her death and the efforts of his father Seamus to bring the six Given children up on his own.

He writes, “I was only a wee child and today, here and now, it feels as if I had no real idea what was going on but one look at our photos on the day of the funeral tells a different story. Six children, dressed in their Sunday best, saying goodbye to their 41-year-old mother.

“Five children plus dad walked behind the coffin into St Patrick’s Church, Murlog, but not Liam. He was head altar boy that year so he carried the cross at the front of the coffin before serving on the altar. That can’t have been easy.”

Given is keen to point out though that his life story is anything but a “misery-fest”.

Rather it is an entertaining journey through the highs and lows of his career in which he also offers an open and frank opinion on the managerial styles of Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, Giovanni Trappatoni and Martin O’Neill.

Any Given Saturday also throws some fresh light on Saipan and the unsavoury departure of Roy Keane from the Irish training camp in 2002.

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Leading the tributes to the man widely regarded as Ireland’s best ever shot stopper are Robbie Keane and Alan Shearer.

Both men are united in their praise of the Lifford man and his contribution to Irish soccer.

Keane writes, “For over a decade Shay Given was his country’s first-choice goalkeeper.

“For over a decade he always answered the call and always practised and prepared as well as he could to make himself one of the best in the world. He’s been a fine team-mate and a better friend, an example to everybody.

“Shay Given, he’s an Irish legend.”

Alan Shearer says simply, “Over a long career you play with and against hundreds of guys but when the time comes to retiring, there’s not actually that many you keep in touch with.

“I’ve stayed in touch with Shay and we remain great friends – that says everything about the man he is.”

Shay Given will be signing copies of Any Given Saturday in Eason’s, Letterkenny, this Sunday, from 1pm.

See Monday’s Donegal News for full coverage of the signing and excerpts from Shay’s new book

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