Hall of Fame Person of the Year 2020 - Donal Shine Snr.
This year’s inductee into our Hall of Fame is sadly no longer in our midst, his untimely passing in 2017 having left his family, his community, and this club that he loved and served so well, bereft of his warm and witty personality and his endearing personal ways. Throughout his life he strove, first as player, then as mentor, to urge Clann na nGael on to conquer new horizons, and he thus played a huge part in us becoming one of the foremost clubs in the land in the eighties and early nineties. The way our senior men’s team came back year after year in pursuit of the ultimate glory, which sadly and tantalisingly eluded us always at the final step, won the admiration of all sports people on this island, and during this period the name of our award-recipient became synonymous with our club and with all that is good in Gaelic games.
The recipient of our award first came to footballing prominence when he starred on a Marist college juvenile team which contested a Leinster final in Croke Park in 1965. He was only 19 when he won his first county senior medal in 1970, and in a brilliant career went on to win a further 6 county and 2 Connacht titles. He was a leading member of the first Clann team to reach an all-Ireland final in 1983. He also represented Roscommon at senior level for a period, a highlight of which term was when he played in the Cardinal Cushing final against Kerry in New York in 1973. An excellent fielder of the ball and very strong in possession, he could play with facility in any position in the forwards, most often lining out for Clann na nGael at left-half-forward or full-forward.
Shortly after his retirement from senior football our award-winner was appointed team-manager, and in this role led the club to a further 7 county and 5 Connacht titles. In 1989 he was manager when the club won the prestigious all-Ireland sevens title, hosted by Kilmacud Crokes. He has also managed numerous club under-age teams to county titles and was joint-manager of the under-14 team which won an All-Ireland Féile title in Carlow in 2002. He also somehow found time to manage neighbouring clubs Athlone and Longford Slashers to county titles while simultaneously holding the reins at Johnstown. All this managerial success at club level did not go unnoticed in higher echelons, and he served a 3-year term as county senior manager in the mid-1990s. In all this time as player and manager his commitment to both club and county was absolute and steadfast.
Our award-recipient has left us a rich legacy in another way also, as his immediate and extended family are all heavily involved with our club and follow his remarkable example in driving and leading Clann na nGael on to further glory. When we reflect today on his achievements and honours won as player and manager, we recall again the forceful personality and great leadership qualities which have led to him becoming inducted today into Clann na nGael’s Hall of Fame.
A very worthy winner of Clann na nGael Hall of Fame Person of the year 2020 and recipient of the Tony Whyte Junior Memorial Award is: