A Baconstown man who became a TV sensation when he appeared on the hit TV show, First Dates, last February, has revealed he is still seeing the girl he met that night, and told Meath Live about the incredible coincidence that helped the pair to bond.
Shane Clavin (36), was paired off with Dubliner Avril Hanafin on the show, in what was his first date for over fourteen years following a serious accident that had left him fighting for his life.
He recalled, ‘ In December 2006 I was at a works Christmas party in Maynooth when I fell and banged my head, I ended up ICU and on a life support machine for a week and a half, so naturally when I met Avril for the first time I told her about it.
‘I couldn’t believe it when she said she completely understood what I had gone through as incredibly her dad had been through almost exactly the same experience, it meant we had something in common to talk about.
‘I’ll admit I was nervous going on to the show I didn’t quite know what to expect but that topic kind of broke the ice, and as I recall the time on our first date flew by and I really enjoyed it, we sort of hit it off and came to like each other almost immediately.
‘Eight months on and we are still enjoying each other’s company but there are no imminent plans to change our accommodation arrangements!’
Shane told the whole story of his fall and remarkable recovery on his application form to the show, but now he reveals for the first time the precise moment he decided that despite all the odds being against him he was going to recover from the traumatic incident.
‘I was in a relationship when the accident happened but that broke up not long afterwards, I also lost a lot of friends around that time, people I would have known for a long time.
‘It wasn’t anyone’s fault really but they just didn’t know how to act around me or how to deal with what had happened me, I could understand that as I struggled to deal with it myself, I had a hell of a recovery to make, I mean at one stage the medics feared I might never walk again, and believe me it is not easy hearing that.
‘Then one day I thought to myself about the sacrifices my mother was making to ensure I had a normal life and decided to stop being a burden on her.
‘Of course she would never have seen me as a burden, that is how Mammy’s are, but it is how I saw myself, and there and then I decided I was going to get better.
‘I suppose I was always a fighter, I used to box a bit with Jody Keegan in the South Meath club, and I hurled with Na Fianna, well it was Baconstown at the time, so I had a reasonable level of fitness in me anyway.
‘I decided to get self sufficient, before the accident I worked as a metal fabricator but now myself and the brother run our own furniture business installing kitchens and wardrobes, that sort of thing.
‘I can walk again and am fully functional the only lasting side effect was I lost my sense of smell, which is no bad thing around this time of year with all the silage being cut.’
When a died in the wool Meath man first met a city slicker things could have gone either way, but Shane says he knows why it all worked out fairly well.
‘Avril’s a proper Dub, she lives near Clondalkin and the night we met she hadn’t dated for a few years either, she is a single Mum so she probably hadn’t the time, but were both genuine with each other.
‘There was no hiding behind a facade, no fake bullshit we just kept it real, told it as it was and it worked.
‘Thanks be to God it seems to be still working.’