Corner planning tribute for Shea

Shay Hamill was a much-loved figure at Chimney Corner Football Club.

Shay Hamill was a much-loved figure at Chimney Corner Football Club.

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CHIMNEY Corner officials this week revealed they will look at ways of commemorating the memory of former manager Shea Hamill.

The hugely popular Hamill died suddenly last week leaving everyone at Allen Park – along with the Province’s footballing fraternity – stunned.

“Shea was a wonderful servant and we will definitely do something to ensure he is never forgotten at Allen Park,” Corner secretary John Robinson told Times Sport.

“We are all still numb at the minute, given the suddenness of his passing but we will sit down and discuss doing something which will provide a lasting and fitting tribute to his memory.

“He will go as one of the greatest names in Chimney Corner’s history for all that he did over a long period.”

Shea’s association with Chimney Corner began in in the mid-80s when he went to Allen Park as assistant manager to Alex McKee.

What followed was a golden period in the club’s history as a side laden with talent won the old ‘B’ Division for the first time in 1984-85, a season in which they also reached the final of the Intermediate Cup, losing to RUC.

Shea returned as manager in 2001 and within a year had guided Corner to the final of the Steel & Sons Cup.

Even though he was unable to take his seat in the dugout – he was recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident, with his assistant Derek Donaghy taking charge of team affairs – he was still present as a spectator at Seaview, where Corner lost 1-0 to Killyleagh.

It was a Corner team comprised mainly of players from the mid-Antrim area and it was captained by Aaron McKeague, one of the club’s current joint managers.

Shea had a second spell in charge from 2004-2007 and then came to the club’s rescue again at the end of 2011, when he took over after Sammy McVicker stepped down.

At that time he told Times Sport: “Chimney Corner is a club that is close to my heart and I wouldn’t see them left in the lurch.”

“That summed up exactly what Corner meant to Shea,” explains John Robinson.

“If he could have helped the club out in any way, he would have done that.

“At that time he was involved with coaching All Saints Old Boys in the Ballymena Saturday Morning League. He was rushing from their match in the morning to maybe head away to Armagh or somewhere in the afternoon for Chimney Corner’s match – it took a special type of person to show commitment like that.

“Even at times when he wasn’t directly involved with the club, he would have been on the phone with the chairman or some other official to say ‘I’ve got a young lad here who I’m sending up so as you can take a look at him’ – he simply never stopped trying to do the best he could for Chimney Corner.

“When news of his death broke, we had people on from a number of different clubs expressing their sympathy – he was so well-known in football circles in this country.

“He could bring people together and nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

“He was a wonderful servant not only to this club but to football in general and the number of people who attended his funeral showed the esteem in which Shea was held,” added John.

Corner’s Intermediate Cup match at Lurgan Celtic was postponed on Saturday as a mark of respect and the two sides will instead play the fixture this Saturday (1.30pm), again at the County Armagh venue.

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