Shane Byrne, Mountcharles pictured with Seamus Coleman at the function in the Blue Haven. Photo Thomas Gallagher
Seamus Coleman was back in his native Killybegs at the weekend to help out in a fund-raising venture for his first club, St. Catherine's FC, which was a major success with the Blue Haven in Kilcar packed to capacity.
The modest and model footballer doesn't court publicity and will always have that down-to-earth nature. "Very surreal. I never look at myself as the person who people look up to. I'm still living my dream and doing my job and trying to be as professional as I possibly can and thankfully that rubs off on people back home, on coaches and kids."
It has been a tough six months for the Everton man, recovering from a horrific leg break suffered while playing for Ireland against Wales in March, but he says the recovery is on course.
"It's going really well. I'm back out now with the ball at my feet and working regularly on fitness and slowly but surely getting there. When the injury first happened and fast forward to getting back on the pitch seemed a long way away but now that it's here I feel that the time has gone quick and my full focus from when the injury happened until now was doing all that I can to be as fit as I can and as strong as I can when I come back."
As far as deadlines for a comeback, nothing is set in stone. "The physios are a wee bit reluctant to put time on things because from one day to the next you never know. So far everything has been going upward," said Coleman, who felt that the timing of the injury could have been worse.
"I suppose I've never been injured for a long time like that, four or five weeks max. I'm quite lucky in when it happened in March. We (Everton) were seventh at the time and we finished seventh and I had the summer then to get it right. Bar the massive Irish games in the summer, I feel I haven't missed a lot. If it happened in August time you would miss a full season of football."
The injury, however, gave him a chance to do things that he wouldn't normally get to do.
"I stayed at home for the first month because there wasn't a lot I could do. So I got to see my friends and all the little stuff that you don't get to do very much, watch the football with the lads. Since then to be honest it has been flat out, six days a week. I have got to come home for stuff like weddings, which I don't get to go to."
Asked if it was difficult to watch the Irish games from the sidelines he said: "You can distance yourself from it and be selfish in your own journey, because I had to recover, working hard; I've been in early and been home last, making sure I'm doing the right things.
"But probably the first game really had me itching was the Serbia game at home because I knew it was a massive game and those are the games (you want to play in). But injuries are part of football and you've just got to cope with it and keep moving forward.
ALL DOWN TO WELSH GAME
"I think someone said at the start of the campaign it could all come down to the Wales game. I know we were thinking of finishing the group on top, because we were in such a good position for a long time, but the summer games were a bit unfortunate for us. It's looking possibly that it will come down to the Wales game and I have no doubt about it, a one-off game against Wales we can win. So there is still a lot to play for and a lot to be positive about. I can understand the negativity from the last two games but we have to brush ourselves down.
"To be fair this team has never really done it the easy way," says Coleman.
Asked about the criticism that the Irish team had received, he said it was just part of the game.
"It is very competitive and criticism is part and parcel of football. We have got to take it on the chin," said Coleman, who said he understood that the fans and media expected a better performance away to Georgia. "But I have played in Georgia and I know how difficult a game that actually is. And they drew with Wales in Wales," said Coleman, who said Ireland can't take Moldova lightly and that all teams are difficult now.
"But if we can't beat Moldova at home then we don't deserve to go to the World Cup."
Coleman has special memories of Emerald Park and was happy that the fund-raising night was going to help in the refurbishment of the astroturf.
"That's where the money's going and it's great, great for the kids. Speaking to John (Conwell) more and more kids are wanting to get involved with St. Catherine's, wanting to get involved in football in the town. It is a great cause and with the weather here in Donegal, you can't use the pitch all the time,” said Coleman.