Mortimer's missiles off the left and McDonnell a fox in the box on Pat Shovelin's dream weekend 5 months ago

Mortimer's missiles off the left and McDonnell a fox in the box on Pat Shovelin's dream weekend

Pat Shovelin will have been smiling down on a left peg like that one.

A couple of weeks before his passing, the Donegal goalkeeping coach was told that it was only a matter of time.

Cancer had caught up on him, there was nothing more that could be done. Shovelin, however, had more to do. A legend of Donegal GAA, he made it his business to live his last few weeks just like he'd live his whole life - to the fullest and in a GAA-obsessed environment.

So along with friend Charlie McManus - a fellow member of Donegal's 2012 All-Ireland winning team - the pair came up with the idea for a charity football match down the line, between Donegal's winning team and a dream selection called 'Pat's All-Stars'.

Pat Shovelin and Maxi Curran lift the Sam Maguire in 2012, by Sportsfile

Pat passed on in October 2017 but in the meantime, McManus and other close friends brought this idea to life. They reached out to the All-Stars and with the invitations gleefully received, plans were put in place for the first weekend in April 2019.

The charities involved included the Donegal Hospice, the Irish Cancer Society, the Letterkenny University Hospital Oncology Unit and a host of others but on a weekend of good-will from all involved, every Gael was a winner, including the youngsters who got the chance to get within touching distance of their heroes Michael Murphy and Conor McManus.

In the end, Pat's All-Stars won out an entertaining game of football on a scoreline of 6-15 to 4-15 with Armagh's Steven McDonnell and Mayo's Conor Mortimer doing most of the damage.

Mortimer in particular, put in an eye-catching performance with the Mayo man's lethal left boot responsible for two absolute bullets landing in the left top corner.

The second, from open play was majestic and can be seen from the Jackson Media TV footage of the event.

Stand back and lift off.

"Ah there was a great buzz around the place," said Mortimer to us afterwards.

"It was for a great cause and all the kids and everyone there enjoyed themselves...It's not too often we get to meet up with the players we used to play with and play against so it was good to catch up with some of them lads."Β 

As for the goal, it came from his tried and trusted technique.

"Listen, they (top-corner shots) don't come off every time but when they do, they're great. A few minutes earlier, I'd hit one into that same top corner so the minute it came over to me, I was ready to go for it again.

"You just take a look at the top corner, eyes back on the ball and then 'boom,' strike through it..."

Steven McDonnell's opportunistic effort was another highlight, one he "just regrets not trying in a championship match."

How Pat Shovelin will have enjoyed that.