Everton and Republic of Ireland football star Seamus Coleman will have Donegal’s highest honour bestowed upon him on June 2 after being praised for his humility and hailed as a shining example to young people.
The full-back, who suffered a horrendous double leg break on his last international outing, will be accorded the Freedom of County Donegal at a Civic Reception hosted at the County House in Lifford on Friday, starting at 5pm.
A native of Killybegs, Seamus Coleman is so highly thought of that he was awarded a new long term contract with Everton after suffering the injury which could see him play no further part on the pitch this year. He had also been named captain of the Republic of Ireland national team.
Coleman started his football career with St. Catherine’s in Killybegs. He joined League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers in 2006 and then moved to England to sign for Everton in January 2009. He has made over 200 appearances for Everton and is regarded as one of the league’s top full-backs.
At around £60,000 he is widely regarded as one of the best bargains ever in the Premier League.
Coleman has been a senior international for the Republic of Ireland since 2011, acquiring over 40 caps. He won the 2011 Nations Cup and was awarded the FAI Under-21 International Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010. He was selected for the Ireland squad at UEFA Euro 2016, captaining Ireland against both Italy and France. He was named Ireland captain in September 2016.
Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach (Mayor or Chairperson) Cllr. Terence Slowey said he is looking forward to this event where the Freedom of Donegal will be bestowed on Seamus Coleman.
“Seamus Coleman is a credit to Donegal and it is my great honour to present him with the Freedom of the County. He is a wonderful role model for the children and young people of this county. He has achieved great things in his career and although he has reached the pinnacle of his sport he has never forgotten his roots. He remains a humble and genuine person and his commitment to Donegal and in particular his commitment to Killybegs is beyond reproach.”
Seamus will be the eight recipient of a badge and pin specially commissioned by the Council. The badge (and lapel pin) is reserved exclusively for those on whom the Freedom of the County is conferred.
The badge, crafted by Ms Geraldine Hannigan, Designer Goldsmith, Letterkenny, and mounted on a background designed by Mr Fionntan Gogarty, Artworks, is a silver replication of the County Badge granted to the Council County by the Chief Herald of Ireland as part of a Grant of Arms to the County. The badge comprises the O’Donnell Cross enfiled by an Iunula. The Iunula on which it is based was discovered at Trentagh, Co. Donegal, and dates to the period 1500 -2,000 B.C. It is on display in the National Museum.
Other recipients of the Freedom of County Donegal include Anthony Molloy, Phil Coulter, Shay Given, Patsy McGonagle, Daniel O’Donnell, Packie Bonner and the 28th Infantry Battalion.