Sunday 25 February 2018

Seamus Coleman spends 30 minutes taking pictures with fans before receiving Freedom of Donegal

Jack O'Toole

Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman was in Lifford, Co. Donegal, on Friday to receive the Freedom of Donegal award, an accolade awarded to individuals who have been recognised for outstanding achievements on behalf of the people and County of Donegal.

The Everton right-back was awarded the honour at County House in Lifford where he was joined by his wife Rachael, baby daughter Lily, his parents Moyra and Henry, brothers Francis and Stephen, as well as family and friends from his home town of Killybegs.

Coleman said at a civic reception that he was very honoured to receive the award and that he's never shied away from displaying his affection for his native Donegal and for its people.

“Receiving this is something I am shocked by, but something I am very, very proud of,” Coleman told the Donegal Democrat.

“Being from Donegal means so much to me and being from Killybegs means so much to me. Home is where the heart is for me and I have made no secret that when I finish football, home is where I will end up.

"I want to continue to work hard and do the best I can and make my family and everyone in Donegal proud."

Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey was also in attendance at the ceremony and praised Coleman for his humility and his pride in representing his county.

"You are an inspirational person and a man that never forgets his roots,” Cllr Slowey said. “You are a modest and humble man, a person who always has time to talk to your supports, and especially the children and young people who look up to you.”

Coleman stayed both before and after the ceremony to take pictures with fans and sign autographs, before he sets off link up with the Ireland squad later this week.

The 28-year-old will join Martin O'Neill's side as they prepare to take on Uruguay in a friendly this Sunday, before Ireland play Austria in a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier next weekend.

Coleman is currently recovering from a tibia and fibula fracture he suffered in a horror challenge with Neil Taylor back in March, but he has been invited to join the squad anyway ahead of the upcoming games.

Last month the Toffees defender signed a five-year deal with Everton that will keep him at Goodison Park until 2022.

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