Donegal Sports Star Awards November Review

County Board Players of the year for 2017 are Yvonne McMonagle & Paddy McBrearty.

 

It’s the second last Donegal Sports Star Awards monthly review of 2017.

November was a month when a number of the county’s sporting stars picked up awards while other individuals and teams enjoyed super successes.

On the GAA front the County Board Player of the Year awards went to Paddy McBrearty of Kilcar and Yvonne McMonagle of Glenfin. The club awards went to Glenfin (senior), Milford (Intermediate) and Naomh Colmcille (junior).

On the last Saturday in November the Naomh Colmcille Club made history by becoming the first team from Donegal to win the Ulster Junior Football Championship after defeating Bellnaleck 1-9 to 0-6 in the final at Celtic Park with Mattie Crossan’s goal midway through the second half the key score of the decider.

There was a hugh honour for Donegal Ladies GAA at the end of the month when the Hegarty sisters Ciara and Niamh were named at centre-half-back and centre-half-forward respectively on the 2017 TG4 Ladies Football All-Star team at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin.

Despite a superb display from Michael Murphy who was the second highest scorer for Ireland with 20 points, it was Australia who won the first leg of the Australian Rules Series in the Adelaide Oval on a score of 63-53.

At the start of November another number club who created history was Setanta who won their first ever Ulster Hurling Championship title after a thrilling three-point win over Na Magha in the Junior Final at McCumhaill Park (2-17 to 3-11).

The County Board Player of the Year was confirmed as Setanta’a Davin Flynn.

It was a good month for former Irish international boxing star Danny Ryan who first won Gold in the 500m sprint and also took bronze in the 2km open age group in the men’s lightweight at the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships in Motherwell.

At the same championships John Doohan won silver in the 2k Heavyweight Race and also finished in a Personal Best time.

Three weeks later in Limerick at the Irish Provinces Indoor competition Ryan won two gold and a bronze in his age category in the 2k and 500m lightweight races while he finished third in the 1k heavyweight event. Danny also set a new Irish lightweight record in the 40-49 age group.

His son Keane took gold in the U23 2k race and followed that with a silver in the 500m open lightweight event. Cloughaneely’s Bernard Doohan also took bronze in the 40 to 49 age group 2k race. Aiden Greene of Kincasslagh won silver in the U23 2k, Dinny McCullagh, Cloughaneely took bronze in the men’s lightweight 2k 30 to 39 age group.

It was also a November to remember for Milford woman Amber Barrett who was the star of the Continental Tyres Women’s National League Awards as she scooped the Player of the Year and Golden Boot gongs. The Republic of Ireland and Peamount United striker was presented with her awards at a ceremony in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin.

Barrett was also named in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League 2017 Team of the Year.

Then at the end of the month Barrett and St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland played their part as the Republic of Ireland senior ladies secured a super 0-0 draw against the reigning UEFA European champions the Netherlands in Nijmegen in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

St Johnston’s Ronan Curtis was on the Republic of Ireland side that went down 2-1 away in Norway in a UEFA European Championship qualifier.

There was a big disappointment for Leitirmacaward man Carl McHugh’s whose hopes of captaining Motherwell to the Scottish League Cup title were dashed by Celtic who won the final 2-0 at Hampden Park.

In horseracing Champion Apprentice Jockey Oisin Orr completed a double at Dundalk on when the young Rathmullan man rode Timia to win the concluding Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Handicap (div 2) for trainer Keith Clarke. The previous week the 20-year-old had been crowned Champion Apprentice Jockey after saddling 20 winners during the season.

Five members of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club Emma Dolan, Ciaran Crawford, Ace Rodrigues, Brodie Hannigan and Eoin Crawford all took home gold medals from the Karate Ireland Kumite Championships in Dublin while Mark Doherty was a bronze winner.

Meanwhile there was big success for the North West Shotokan Karate Club in Carlow taking 12 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals.

Letterkenny AC’s Karol Duggan continued his tremendous recent form in athletics by storming to victory in the Donegal Senior Cross-County Championship at the Finn Valley Centre. Ciaran Doherty, another very consistent LAC performer, was third. Fine runs by the other four LAC runners earned silver medals for the team who were being beaten by a good Finn Valley outfit.

Terrific packing ensured that the women’s team retained the title they won last year. Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin was first across the line in the women’s event and was followed by the very consistent Letterkenny AC pair of Nakita Burke and Noeleen Scanlan which helped give LAC the team title.

Karol Duggan’s scintillating 2017 cross country season reached another huge high in the British and Irish Masters’ Cross Country International at Gransha, Derry. He was up against the top Masters  from Ireland and Britain and finished 12th overall and seventh in the M35 race. He helped his team to gold medals.

Finn Valley’s Dermot McElchar was on the Irish O40 team that took gold while fellow club member Kay Byrne was on the international team that finished second in the women’s category and Noreen Bonner was a scorer on the winning O60 team.

At the Ulster Novice Championships the Letterkenny AC men’s team made light work of the heavy mud at the Finn Valley Centre to win gold. Dan King was third overall and the first LAC counter. Milford AC won the Ulster Novice Women’s Cross Country team title in Stranorlar with Tara Carron, Gillian Marley and Siobhan McHugh being the scorers on the day. Sean McGinley, in the Olympian YAC colours, won the U15 Boys at the Ulster and Northern Ireland Cross Country Championships at Finn Valley. Sean who had won the U16 title a few weeks earlier also led the Donegal county team to bronze in Finn Valley.

Letterkenny’s Catriona Jennings was the second female international athlete to cross the line in the 10k Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababe.

Fodhla McFadden from the Rosses Club was honoured with an Ulster Athletics Council Sports Star Award in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.

In mid November Letterkenny navigator Rory Kennedy was part of the winning crew on Isle of the Man with English man Arron Newby taking their Teg Sport Subaru to victory in the Pokerstars Rally which included night stages on the Friday.

Pettigo man Kevin Eves was selected as one of the three finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award. 26-year-old Eves has had a very successful 2017 culminating in him winning the Irish Tarmac Rally Modified Championship.

Mona McSharry the Marlins Swimming Club, Ballyshannon club member was one of 12 athletes who have been awarded Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to assist with qualification and preparations for the Toyko 2000 Games.

Young Glenswilly lad Cathal Gallagher received great news that he was selected to take part in a cycling scholarship in Spain. The Errigal Cycling Club member is one of 15 riders from across Europe who will take part in a week-long training camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in early January.

A memorable milestone was reached by Illies Golden Gloves Secretary Sadie Duffy who refereed her 50th international tournament at the Women’s World Junior Boxing Championships in Guhawati, India.

There was huge disappointment for Carndonagh boxer Labhaoise Clarke as a hand injury denied her the chance of winning at least a bronze medal at the Women’s World Youth Championships in India. As a result of the injury Clarke’s last 16 fight against a Mongolian opponent was stopped in the second round.

On the last Friday in November, St. Johnston’s Brett McGinty suffered defeat in his Ulster Elite Welterweight Final at Belfast’s Ulster Hall and a major blow in terms of his hopes of representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year.

Meanwhile, Letterkenny native Stephen McMonagle who fights out of the Holy Trinity Club in Belfast won the Ulster Super Heavyweight title on a walkover.

Dungloe ABC’s Matthew McCole won his Irish Amateur Boxing Association senior semi-final in the 64kg category overcoming Ryan O’Rourke 3-0 from St. Michael’s in Dublin at the National Stadium. Also securing a place in the national finals was Illies ABC’s Cathal Browne in the Light Heavyweight Division.

Kilcar’s bid for a place in the Ulster Senior Football Championship Club Final was derailed by reigning title holders Slaughneil on a score of 2-17 to 0-17 at Healy Park in Omagh. It was a semi-final that Barry Doherty’s men could have won but a failure to finish off any of a handful of goal chances put paid to hopes of the Towney faithful. Less than 24 hours later the dream of a first ever appearance in an Ulster Club Final for Milford came to a very disappointing end at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh as Danny O’Donnell’s side missed a golden opportunity to make the decider despite not playing anywhere near their best against the Down outfit Rostrevor (0-13 to 0-12).

Four Masters club man Hugh Devenney was the recipient of an appreciation award at the Ulster Ladies GAA 25 year celebration function in Kelly’s Inn for his services to the female football from 1992.

Gweedore won the Donegal U21 A Championship Final with a 3-11 to 3-5 win over Naomh Conaill at the O’Donnell Park helped by three goals from Cian Mulligan.

The Finesse Gymnastics Club enjoyed medal success at the GymStart Challenge in the new national indoor arena at the National Sports Complex in Dublin.

Lagan Harps’ Zoe Green was named as the 2017 North West Women’s Super League Player of the Year at the inaugural awards function in the Lake of Shadows Hotel, Buncrana.

In the middle of the month Finn Harps U15 players’ goalkeeper Patrick McGarvey and right-full-back Fionnan Coyle were members of the Republic of Ireland squad who lost 2-0 to Poland at Whitehall in Dublin. McGarvey who was in from the start saved a first half penalty while Coyle came on the Republic of Ireland side as a 65th minute substitute.

The Finn Harps U15s missed out on a place in the national final after losing 2-1 to Athlone Town at the Dry Arch. Kevin McHugh’s side dominated long periods of the semi-final but found themselves 2-0 down at the break. An early second half Conor Black goal gave the hosts hope but Athlone held out for a place in the decider.

Gweedore Celtic became the first junior soccer club in the country to receive the FAI’s Club Mark award for governance, administration, coaching, child welfare policies and included 20 criteria in total.

The Ulster Schools soccer side finished runners-up in the National Inter-provincial Schools Finals after only managing a 2-2 draw with Leinster on Sunday in Dublin.

Paul Browne’s boys needed a win and did lead 2-1 through two goals from St. Eunan’s College player Michael Gallagher. However a Leinster penalty ensured that there was would be no back-to-back titles for the Ulster boys.

Meanwhile the Ulster Senior League secured a second-place finish at the FAI Intermediate Inter-League Tournament in Galway thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over Munster at Mervue.

Tony McNamee, Conor Tourish and Oisin McMenamin netted as Anthony Gorman’s side secured the runners-up spot, behind the victors Leinster who won all three of their games.

For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter at DL Sportstars.

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Donegal Sports Star Awards October Review

Donegal girls and Republic of Ireland players, from left, Amber Barrett, Roma McLaughlin and Tyler Toland.

 

There was an impressive array of successes in Donegal sport during October with impressive achievements in athletics, GAA, hurling, motorcycling, rugby, motorsport and soccer. The Donegal Sports Star Awards monthly review highlights the significant successes as 2017 draws to a close.

 

In soccer Milford woman Amber Barrett and St. Johnston youngster Tyler Toland played key roles as the Republic of Ireland Women’s side defeated Slovakia 2-0 in an away FIFA World Cup Qualifier. It was an assist from Barrett that secured the Irish a second crucial goal just past the half-hour mark to make it two wins from two for Colin Bell’s outfit.

 

It was the first time for Barrett to start a senior competitive game after coming on to make her international debut as a sub in the opening qualifier game against Northern Ireland in Lurgan in September. It was a special occasion too for 16-year-old Toland who also made her full competitive senior debut after also coming as a sub against Northern Ireland. Another Donegal woman Roma McLaughlin came on for Toland during injury time at the end of the qualifier in Slovakia.

 

It was a busy month for Toland who started while Glenties girl Amy Boyle-Carr came on as a second half sub as the Republic of Ireland U17 Girls recorded a 2-0 home win over Greece to finish top of their UEFA European Championship qualifying group.

 

 

At the start of the month Dungloe’s James Boyle captained the Republic of Ireland’s Amputee soccer team who lost 2-0 Russia in their opening EAFF European Championship group game in Turkey. The Irish also lost to England but defeated Greece to secure a quarter-final spot but then went down 5-0 to Poland. Twin Towns lad Oisin Merritt was part of the Irish squad that had the best ever finish at the Cerebal Palsy World Championships, after overcoming a horrific injury and returning to the game earlier this year.

 

There was heartbreak in additional time for Merritt and Ireland in Argentina as they went down 3-2 to the USA in the 5th/6th play-off. The young Irish side went into the game knowing whatever the result they would finish the highest any Irish Cerebral Palsy squad has done in any World Championships.

 

St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis was a member of the Republic of Ireland side who drew 0-0 with Norway in a World Cup qualifier at the Tallaght Stadium. Buncrana Hearts midfielder Kieran McDaid was in the Republic of Ireland Junior International squad that played in the Quadrangular tournament in Glasgow against Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

 

Near the end of October, Newtowncunningham youngster Ryan McKinley played for the Republic of Ireland U15s in a 2-2 draw against Wales in the Victory Shield in Bangor. And two Finn Harps U15 players goalkeeper Patrick McGarvey and full-back Fionnan Coyle played for the Republic of Ireland in a friendly game against Manchester City that ended 1-1 at Abbottstown.

It’s a rare occurrence that a father and son would be on international duty for two different countries in the space of the week. Well it happened for Anthony and Dale Gorman members of a very well known Letterkenny footballing family. Dad Anthony won another Masters cap as a member of the Republic of Ireland team who traveled to play the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile son Dale scored a splendid goal for Northern Ireland in their 4-2 win over Estonia in a European U21 qualifier. Dale was who born in Northern Ireland plays his club football with English League 2 side Stevenage. He helped NI to go top of their qualifying group after this victory.

 

The Ulster squad won the FAI Youth Inter-provincial competition after first drawing 2-2 with Munster at Dry Arch Park on the Friday night and then Daniel Nolan’s boys had a thrilling 3-2 victory over Leinster in Cockhill. But it all came down to the games on the Sunday with only Connacht out of the running to win the title. Ulster’s 4-2 win over Connacht secured the national silverware at the Bonagee Utd grounds.

 

October was the month that Ollie Horgan’s bid to keep Finn Harps in the League of Ireland Premier Division next season came up short. It started with the 2-0 loss to reigning champions Dundalk in Ballybofey.

Six days later Harps hopes of staying in the Premier Division were hanging by a thread after going down 3-0 to Derry City at Maginn Park. The following weekend their relegation fate was sealed without kicking a ball when their own game against Drogheda Utd was called-off due to an unplayable pitch.

Horgan’s men knew that a win for Sligo Rovers over Derry City would mean relegation. And that’s what happened at the Showgrounds as the Candystripes lost 3-0 to the hosts.

 

 

In the middle of the month Kilcar won the Donegal Senior Football Championship for the first time in 25 years after 0-7 to 0-4 win over Naomh Conaill at McCumhaill Park. Meanwhile Milford were crowned County Intermediate Champions for only the second time in the club’s history thanks to a 2-11 to 0-12 win over St. Nauls at the O’Donnell Park with Cathal McGettigan’s late goal the key score in the decider. Naomh Colmcille won the Donegal Junior Football A Championship final after a 2-7 to 0-8 win over Red Hugh’s at the O’Donnell Park.

 

All three Donegal winners were then in provincial action on the last Sunday of October. Kilcar advanced to the semi-finals of the Ulster Senior Football Club Championship with a 1-16 to 1-6 win over Scotstown in Clones with Paddy McBrearty contributing eight points of that total. Milford reached the Intermediate semi-final after coming from behind to defeat Killeavy at the Athletic Grounds with Tony McNamee proving the match winner with the final score being 1-13 to 1-12 in favour of Danny O’Donnell’s men. Naomh Colmcille also secured a place in the last four after defeating Cavan champions Ballymachugh in Ballybofey (1-8 to 0-7).

 

However, there was disappointment for the Glenfin’s Ladies who just failed to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Ulster Senior Club Championship after losing out by just two points to Tyrone side St. Macartan’s at Pairc Taobhaigh. There was good news for Ladies GAA as five Donegal players the Hegarty sisters Ciara and Niamh, Karen Guthrie, Geraldine McLaughlin and Yvonne McMonagle received nominations for the 2014 TG4 All-Star team. On the first day of October, Setanta advanced to the semi-finals of the Ulster Hurling Championship with a comfortable 1-18 to 2-9 win over Down outfit Ballela at the O’Donnell Park.

 

There was a good start and end to October for Letterkenny AC’s Catriona Jennings. On the first day of the month Catriona was the first ever winner of the East Donegal Half-Marathon based around the town of Raphoe in a time of 1:18:15. On the last Sunday of October and for the second successive year she was a silver medal winner in the National Women’s category in the Dublin Marathon.

 

Finn Valley’s Noreen Bonner took the national title and gold medal in the female 60-64 age group category in the Dublin Marathon.

 

The Donegal Masters Cross- Country Championships took place in the Inishowen town of Carndonagh and resulted in Letterkenny AC.’s Karol Duggan getting his Masters’ career off to a flying start by winning the men’s race in a time of 15.09. He won by 16 seconds and led the 4-men LAC team of Anthony Doherty 16.01, Ivan Toner 16.18 and Raymond Birch 16.30 to gold in the M35-49 team prize.

 

And it got better for Duggan as three weeks later at the first big Irish Cross-Country race of the new season the ‘Autumn Open Festival’ at the National Sports Complex, Abbotstown, Dublin.

It was the Masters’ Trial Race for the November ‘5 Nations Cross Country International meet’. Karol underlined his status as one of the country’s top Masters by claiming third place in the M35 category. He ran a very fast time of 24.47 that guaranteed his place in the international team.

 

One of the other noteworthy features of the race, from a Donegal perspective, was the performance of Kilmacrennan septuagenarian James Doherty of Milford AC. Despite only taking up running at the age of 65, James stormed to first place in the M70 category.

 

Letterkenny Athletic Club also had success at Victoria Park, Belfast in the Northern Ireland and Ulster Road Relay Championships. The women’s team, composed entirely of primary school teachers, took second place, behind Queen’s University. Nakita Burke got the team off to a flying start and her time of 11m 22s put the LAC team in second place after the 1st leg. Newcastle AC’s runner ran 10.47. Maria Ni Mhaolagain ate into this lead and, at the end of the 2nd leg, her time of 12.06 had put LAC into the lead. Noeleen Scanlan had an excellent final leg and clocked 11.48.

 

Milford AC won their first county title when their men’s team came first in the Donegal Novice Cross-County Championships in Stranorlar under the management of James Gibbons and Hugh Coll. And their ladies became the first female team from the Club to win a county medal when coming third in Stranorlar.

 

Former Letterkenny Rugby Club player Joe Dunleavy made a dream start to his professional provincial career by scoring a try during his debut for an Ulster A side that defeated Scarlets Premiership Select in the opening round of the British & Irish Cup at Banbridge RFC.

 

Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr enjoyed a terrific finish to the motorcycle season with a double victory at the Sunflower Trophy Races. The 17-year-old ended the season in fourth place in the BSB Motostar Series.

 

In motorsport Joseph McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney finished third at the Cork 20 International Rally in their Skoka Fabia just 0.7 of a second behind the runner-up crew of Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble.

Meanwhile, Pettigo’s Kevin Eves had another win in the National Category at the Cork 20 event.

 

Buncrana boxer Caroline Gallagher took the Ulster Novice 68kg Championship title at the Dockers Club in Belfast while Cathal Browne from Illies Golden Gloves won his Ulster Senior Final at 81kgs.

 

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport.Starawards or on twitter at DLSportstars.

 

Donegal Sports Star Awards September Review

Catriona Jennings – first lady across the line at the Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon with a new PB of 1.15.37

 

Athletics

Several LAC runners made the long journey to Belfast on Sunday morning There was a stunning victory, as well as a PB, for in-form Catriona Jennings at the ‘Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon’. She was the first woman across the line and achieved a new PB of 1.15.37.

Ciaran McGonagle and Raymond Birch both achieved top 10 finishes in the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry. Ciaran ran 1.14.14, which gave him seventh place overall and second place in the M40 category. Raymond was ninth overall and the second M35 runner in a time of 1.17.22.

Brendan Boyce returned to competition this week in China after the disappointment of having to pull out just days before the 50k Race Walk World Championships Final in London last month due to a hamstring injury.

The Milford man was in Shangai for a four-day team endurance event. Boyce’s team included his Irish teammate Alex Wright, Poland’s Damian Blocki and South African Wayne Snyman.

On Tuesday in the blistering heat and humidity nine competitors didn’t finish the 10.5km course. Snyman was first home for the team in 10th overall in 44:37 while Brendan had his best finish of the first three days taking 17th place in 45:53 and overall the Finn Valley Club member moved up to 15th. Wright was third counter in 47:10. That kept Boyce’s team in fifth place at that stage.

 

Boxing

Ciaran Anderson from the Twin Towns Boxing Club, representing Ireland lost out to Asian Monika Bagri at the National Stadium.

 

Saturday 9th September – Michael Gallagher won his first ever professional bout overcoming Polish opponent Mateusz Rybarski at the National Stadium in Dublin on a TKO in the second round.

 

Camogie

Saturday 9th September – The Donegal U14 team was crowned All-Ireland champions for the first time.

 

Cycling

Gweedore girl Clodagh Ni Ghallchoir won a gold medal in the Street Sprint at the 2017 UK School Games at Loughborough University.

 

Equestrian

Glenswilly woman Mary Devine finished runner-up on her horse Wolansky at the Northern Ireland Spring Festival Dressage Show in Danecroft Equestrian Centre

 

GAA

Sunday 10th September – Gweedore defeated St. Eunan’s to reach the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship while the other quarter-final winners were Naomh Conaill, Kilcar and St. Michael’s. Aodh Ruadh, Milford, Fanad Gaels and St. Nauls secured places in the semi-finals of the Intermediate Football Championship.

Once again Burt proved their pedigree as a well organized outfit on Saturday evening at the O’Donnell Park as Ronan McLaughlin’s side had St. Michael’s ‘on the ropes’ until Colm Anthony McFadden and Andrew Kelly posted injury-time points to eventually secure the ‘Bridge Boys’ a place in the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship (0-13 to 1-8).

Despite a gallant effort Cloughaneely just came up in short in their bid to knock pre-match favourites Milford out of the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship on Saturday evening at the O’Donnell Park (1-15 to 1-12).

Saturday 30th September – It was comfortable in the end for Fanad Gaels as Aidan McAteer’s side booked a place in the semi-finals of the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship thanks to an eight-point win over Naomh Columba at the O’Donnell Park on Sunday (3-9 to 0-10). Seamie ‘Coshia’ Friel’s 52nd minute penalty goal was arguably the game’s crucial score as it left the Glencolmcille outfit trailing by six points with time running out.

In the proverbial game of two halves Fanad Gaels were in the end probably happy to settle for a draw after a disappointing second half performance in Sunday’s County Intermediate Football semi-final against St. Nauls at the O’Donnell Park (0-12 each). That was frustrating as Aidan McAteer’s men had led by six points at the break but the Mountcharles outfit were a transformed side after the interval and were perhaps a shade fortunate not to have scored at least goal one goal in the second half.

With four minutes of injury time played at the O’Donnell Park on Sunday and Milford holding on to a one-point lead Aodh Ruadh Ballyshannon had one last chance to force a replay. Fortunately for the Moyleview faithful Philip Patton’s free drifted narrowly wide and so Danny O’Donnell’s side has secured their place in the County Intermediate Final for the second successive year (2-12 to 1-14).

It was an entertaining semi-final where both sides had their spells of superiority but there was never much between them in terms of the score over the 66 minutes of football.

Friday 15th September – The Donegal Masters booked their place in the semi-finals of the national competition with an 1-11 to 0-7 win over Cavan in Convoy

Wednesday 27th September – The Donegal Masters booked their place in the semi-finals of the national competition with a 2-16 to 3-6 win over Antrim in Garvaghy with the help of goals from Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward and Dermot McColgan.

Saturday 23rd September – Kilcar hammered St. Michael’s 2-16 to 0-7 to reach the senior championship final for the second successive year.

Saturday 30th September – Naomh Conaill secured their place in the Donegal Senior Football Championship Final with a one-point win over Gweedore (1-13 to 1-12) at McCumhaill Park following a great comeback.

Sunday 10th September – Glenfin defeated Moville to win the Donegal Ladies Senior Football Championship Final in Convoy on a score of 1-9 to 1-7.

Paddy McBrearty was the only Donegal player among the list of nominees for the 2017 All-Star team.

Sunday 24th September – Fanad Gaels club member Siobhan Coyle and referee Siobhan had the honour of being a lines woman for the All-Ireland Senior Football Final between Dublin and Mayo. Back in July she was a referee at the Continental Youth Championships in New York.

 

Golf

Gweedore were crowned Donegal Youth Matchplay Champions after defeating Ballybofey & Stranorlar in the decider.

 

Horseracing

Sunday 17th September – Teenager Dylan Browne-McMonagle was crowned champion jockey at Finn Valley with two wins on Let’s Go Now and Five Stone of Lead.

 

Hurling

St. Eunans and Setanta secured their places in the Donegal Senior Final after their respective wins over reigning champions McCumhaills and Burt.

Saturday 16th September – Setanta were crowned County Senior Hurling Champions after a 1-16 to 1-8 victory over St. Eunan’s at McCumhaill Park

 

Martial Arts

There was big success for members of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club at the JKS European Championships. Jamie-Lee Simpson, Emma Dolan, Natasha Doherty were part of a four-member team that were crowned European U14 Kumite Champions. Meanwhile, Emma Dolan was crowned U14 Female European Champion.

 

Motorsport

Marty Gallagher of Letterkenny and Convoy’s Dean O’Sullivan in their Peugeot 208 R2 recorded their first win of a round of the junior section of the British Rally Championship on the Isle of Man.

Rugby

Carndonagh teenager Stephen Kelly won his first Ulster cap when he played in the second row for the province’s U18s in an Inter-provincial clash with Leinster

Letterkenny Rugby Club member Mia Alcorn scored a try for the Ulster U18s in a 32-12 Inter-provincial rugby win over Connacht.

 

Soccer

Tuesday 19th September – Milford woman Amber Barrett and 16-year-old St. Johnston girl Tyler Toland made there senior international competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland women’s team in a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland at Mourneview Park in the opening game of their World Cup qualifying campaign. Barrett was introduced as a late sub after Toland had also come on as a replacement.

Illies Celtic Ladies completed an historic treble adding the Inishowen Cup to their North West Super League and Ulster titles.

Saturday 2nd September – Donegal Town’s Jack Keaney came on as a late sub for the Republic of Ireland U19s who defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 at the Waterford RSC in the first of two international friendlies against the same opponents.

Rhys McCabe’s injury-time strike handed Sligo Rovers a precious three points in the race to avoid the drop from the League of Ireland Premier Division as the Bit O’Red got the better of Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Saturday night. The visitors had gone 1-0 up thanks to Vinny Faherty on 16 minutes. But Ollie Horgan’s men deservedly levelled the game in the 82nd minute courtesy of a goal of sheer class from Paddy McCourt.

Saturday 22nd September – Finn Harps relegation worries deepened after Ollie Horgan’s side lost 4-1 to Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium.

Sunday 24th September – St. Johnston’s Tyler and Glenties girl Amy-Boyle-Carr both started as the Republic of Ireland U17s recorded an opening 1-0 win over host nation Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain in the UEFA European Qualifying Round Group game.

Saturday 30th September – St. Johnston’s Tyler played the full 90 minutes while Glenties girl Amy-Boyle-Carr was a second half sub as the Republic of Ireland U17s recorded a 2-0 win over Greece to maintain their fine form in the European Qualifying Group. Toland and Carr had also both played in the 2-0 victory over Romania in Zenica three days earlier which ensured qualification for the Elite Phase of the UEFA U17 Championships.

Ballybofey lad Oisin Merritt was a member of the Republic of Ireland team that finished sixth at the Cerebral Palsy World Cup

 

Surf-Lifesaving

Sunday 24th September – Rossnowlagh’s Una Britton became Irish Surfing National Women’s Senior Champion for the first time at the Peak, Bundoran. She also won the U18 title. Bundoran Board Riders members Katie McAnena and her partner Finn Mullen won national titles in the Stand Up Paddleboarding Surf Division.

Bea Greenberg from Creeslough won the Irish Junior U14 Surfing title and was third overall.

 

Swimming

Cody Dunnion a first year student at Loreto Convent Milford was selected for the Regional Skills Academy Programme with Swim Ulster/Swim Ireland.

 

Triathlon

Letterkenny 24/7 Club member Margaret Kelly finished in a time of 5:36:54 in the 70.3km World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

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Letterkeny Trad Week 2018 – A Who’s Who of The String Sisters!

 

The world’s top female traditional fiddle ensemble, The String Sisters, will include a Donegal performance next month, as part of their short, three date concert tour. After headlining appearances at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, as part of the Celtic Connections Festival, and at the prestiguous Sage Gateshead venue (Newcastle), the String Sisters will perform a special concert at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, on Saturday, January 21st. as part of the 4th. annual Letterkenny Trad Week.

 

Featuring the superb fiddle playing and singing talents of our own Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, alongside Grammy nominated Chicago artist Liz Carroll, Shetland virtuoso Catriona MacDonald, Scandinavian ‘hardanger’ exponent Annbjørg Lien, Swedish singer and fiddle player Emma Härdelin and Kentucky-born former Riverdance lead, Liz Knowles, the richness and diversity of the programme on offer ensures that there will be few, if any, better traditional concerts to be enjoyed anywhere in Ireland this New Year.

 

The String Sisters who will perform in An Grianán Theatre on 21 January during Letterkenny Trad Week

 

Liz Carroll

Liz Carroll grew up in an Irish American household steeped in traditional music and song. In 1973, the Carroll family travelled to Ireland to watch Liz take second place in the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil Under 18 Fiddle Championship. The winner that year was one Frankie Gavin.  Undeterred, Liz returned to the competition the following year and won it outright. The next year, while still only 18, she won the Senior All Ireland Fiddle title.  Since then, Liz Carroll has enjoyed a stellar international career both as a perfomer and a composer. Her recent, extremely well recieved recordings with guitarist John Doyle, led to performances at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington and at the White House at the request of  former president, Barack Obama. She has composed over 200 original tunes, many of which have become modern standards.  In 2010, her ‘Double Play’ recording was nominated for a Grammy Award, making Liz Carroll the first American-born Irish traditional musician to be so honoured.

 

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, the current TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Musician of the Year, will need no introduction to Irish audiences. The hugely respected traditional singer and musician from Gaoth Dobhair is a founder member of Ireland’s foremost traditional band, Altan. She has a great store of songs as Gaeilge from the Donegal Gaeltacht and her fiddle playing owes much to the influence of her late father Prionsias Ó Maonaigh as well as to that of many others among the greats of Donegal fiddle playing, including John Doherty, Con Cassidy, the Campbells, Neilidh Boyle, James Byrne and Danny Meehan.

Mairéad has also established a strong solo career in recent years, releasing a debut CD, ‘Imeall’, in 2009, the same year in which she was accorded the honour of Donegal Person of the Year. Last  year, she  formed a very successful family band, Na Mooneys, with her brother Gearóid, sister Anna, daughter Nia and nephew Ciarán.

 

Catriona MacDonald

Virtuoso Shetland fiddler Catriona MacDonald is credited with bringing the formidable String Sisters group together in the first instance, when she was commissioned in 2001 by Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival to create an ensemble of the world’s finest female fiddle players. The former BBC 2 Young Tradition Award winner now divides her time between teaching Music Degree courses at Newcastle University – as well as at Stirling University and the University of Limerick (UL)  –  and performing with hugely popular Scottish folk bands, Blazin’ Fiddles and The Unusual Suspects.  Her own debut solo recording, ‘Bold’ in 2001, was Album of the Year in many folk and traditional music End of Year Polls.

 

Emma Härdelin

Emma Härdelin was born into a family of nationally acclaimed musicians as the daughter of acclaimed Swedish traditional fiddle player, Thore Härdelin. She grew up in Hälsingland in the North East of Sweden, a region rich in folklore and music, dominated by the landscape of the Taiga forest and the Blue Mountains. A hugley accomplished singer and fiddle player, Emma performs with a number of Swedish ensembles, including as lead singer with both the folk trio Triakle and the band, Garmarna.

 

Annbjørg Lien

Norwegian traditional ‘hardanger’ fiddle player Annbjørg Lien will be familiar to many Irish audiences through her work with Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, the Chieftans and seminal Irish folk singer Andy Irvine. She enjoys an enviable profile across the Nordic countries for her innovative, collaborative approach to traditional music which has seen her work with musicians from many parts of the world, over the course of some 13 highly successful recordings.

 

Liz Knowles

Completing the sextet, Kentucky-born fiddle and viola player Liz Knowles is presently enjoying high pofile exposure as a member of the new Martin Hayes Quartet, an ensemble which has grown out of the Clare maestro’s current Residency at the National Concert Hall.  The Quartet launched their debut CD, ‘The Blue Room’, with a performance there in October. Liz Knowles trained as a classical musician and once introduced to Irish traditional music, she mastered the idiom to such an extent that she was soon touring the world with Riverdance and performing with the hugely popular Irish-American traditional band, Cherish The Ladies.

 

The six Sisters will be accompanied on the night by the stellar Scottish / Norwegian quartet of Dave Milligan on piano, Tore Bruvoll on guitar, Conrad Molleson on bass and James Mackintosh on percussion.

Tickets for The String Sisters at An Grianán Theatre on Saturday, January 21st, as part of Letterkenny Trad Week, are Now Booking from the Theatre Box Office T: 074 9120777 and On-Line at www.angrianan.com

Further information on the complete Trad Week Programme (January 20-27) is now avaialble on W: www.regionalculturalcentre.com Booking for all Trad Week Concert Events is via the An Grianán Theatre Box Office, and On-Line, as above.

 

Letterkenny Trad Week is organised by the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny and An Grianán Theatre, in association with Earagail Arts Festival, Donegal County Council Arts Office, Donegal Music Education Partnership, Music Network and Kinnegar Brewery . The media partner is the Donegal News and the accommodation partner is Station House Hotel.

First Look Screening of Star Wars The Last Jedi in Letterkenny

There was great excitement, glitz and glamour last night at one of Ireland’s first look screenings of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI at Century Cinemas in Letterkenny. Over 200 invited guests were treated to a sparkling reception and canapés before one of Ireland’s first look screenings of the much awaited film just after midnight.

 

The screening was gifted by LucasFilm and Disney as a thank you to the people of Malin Head and Donegal. Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Gerry McMonagle thanked Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures for supporting this special First Look Screening at Century Cinemas in Letterkenny and he also paid tribute to Mark Doherty and his team at Century Cinemas.

In May 2016, Malin Head became one of a number of locations across the world where scenes from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI was filmed.  Aideen Doherty from the Donegal Film Office explained that last night’s event was very much an appreciation screening and the invited guests included many of the crew who worked on the set of the film at Malin Head as well as local service providers who supported the production company from the word go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donegal Sports Star Awards July Review

Mona McSharry with her medal haul from the European Junior Swimming Championships

 

International success for Donegal sports

 

The Donegal Sports Star Awards July review reveals a splendid spread of international successes in swimming, boxing, gymnastics and hockey.

 

On the first Sunday in July, Marlins Ballyshannon club member Mona McSharry won two gold medals and a silver at the European Junior Swimming Championships. The golds were secured in the 50m and 100m breastrokes while silver came in the 200m breastroke. Mona also set two new Irish senior and junior records in those events. She also set a new Irish junior record as part of the Mixed Medley Relay who finished fourth.

 

With her two golds and a silver this time and a silver and bronze from last year Mona is now the most successful Irish swimmer ever at the European Junior Championships.

Another a member of the Marlins Swimming Club, 12-year-old Cora Rooney enjoyed success at the national championships winning gold in the 400m individual medley, 100m free, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke. Cora also took silver in 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle.

 

Towards the end of July there was a brilliant bronze medal for Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club member John Moran at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. The 18-year-old earned his bronze after defeating Samoan Seonoa Hall in a quarter-final bout. Moran’s bid for a silver medal was ended in a tight semi-final contest losing out to Nathan James Probert from Wales.

 

17 members of the Finesse Gymnastics Club, representing, Ireland won a team bronze at the World Gym for Life Challenge in Vestfold, Norway. And there was international success for young Raphoe hockey players Ben Wallace and Alexander Tinney who were members of the Ireland U18 team who defeated England 4-2 in a 6 Nations tournament in Nottingham. It was the first time in three years for the Irish to do so and it meant they came higher in the group than England.

 

At home Mark English took gold while there was bronze for Karl Griffin in the 800m Final at the Irish Track & Field Championships in Dublin. Also at the finals Finn Valley’s John Kelly won the senior shot putt gold and in the process becoming the first Donegal man to do so since John Gallagher of Cruit Island 65 years ago while Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn was second in the 5000m Women’s Final.

 

Track specialist, Milford man Brian Boyce, competing in the colours of Letterkenny Athletic Club continued his excellent recent form. Having picked up double bronze in the Athletics Ireland Master’s Championship, Boyce was in even better form in the Northern Ireland Master’s Finals at the Mary Peters’ track in Belfast. He achieved a golden double. He was first in the M40 category in his preferred distance of 400m in a time of 54.58s. He also the winner in the 200m when he ran 24.23s.

 

Bosco Reid won national Masters shot putt titles on both sides of the border on successive days. First the Finn Valley member retained the National Masters in Tullamore on the Saturday. And then on the Sunday repeated that success at Northern Masters Finals in Belfast. Donegal won the All-Ireland C U21 Hurling Championship with a 1-14 to 0-12 victory over Sligo at Markievicz Park.

On the first Sunday of the month Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin played a captain’s role with a magnificent 2-6 as Donegal landed a second TG4 Ulster senior title in three seasons in Clones against reigning champions Monaghan (4-11 to 0-15). Michael Naughton’s side laid the foundations for this marvelous win with the help of three first half goals from Termon’s Roisin Friel, Yvonne McMonagle of Glenfin and then McLaughlin struck before the break to give the Tirconaill outfit a 3-5 to 0-9 advantage.

 

Rhys Irwin was in dominant form on his return to the Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park at the weekend. Riding in the Lightweight Supersport class the Donegal teenager took three wins, along with three fastest race laps, and lifted an additional cash award for scoring the most points of any competitor in his class over the three races. Rhys also picked up four wins at the British Series Racing in Rockington while his older brother Caolan recorded two podium finishes at the UK circuit.

 

The Donegal-Derry Vipers moved top of the Irish American Football League 1 after narrowly defeating promotion favourites Craigavon Cowboys 21-20 away from home.

 

11-year-old Alex Hughes Frosses schoolboy won a tournament at Kirk’s Bar in Clady, which has secured him a place at the Worthington’s Champion of Champions Final in Cardiff at the end of August.

 

There was national success for two young Letterkenny boxers Joe Harkin and Paddy McShane.

 

And Ardara woman Charolette Kennedy enjoyed international Clay Pigeon Shooting success in Scotland as a member of the Irish team that won three titles – the Home Internationals, the British Open and the European Championships. Newtowncunningham man Jim Doherty was second in the British Open at the same championships.

 

The fifth annual Letterkenny International Track & Field meeting saw a string of outstanding performances at the Aura’s Danny McDaid Track. The crowds were treated to five meeting records across a host of world class events, as well as World championship and Commonwealth Games qualification standards. When the curtain came down on the meeting, Letterkenny Athletic Club could be very pleased with the event, with 100 athletes from 25 countries from all over the World taking part.

 

Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Teresa McDaid travelled to Bydgoszcz, Poland during the month as manager of a very strong Irish team in the European Athletics Under 23 Championship.

 

Donegal suffered a heavy 4-17 to 0-4 defeat at the hands of Galway in a Round 4 Qualifier at Markievicz Park in Sligo. The painful loss came after Rory Gallagher’s side was fortunate to get over Longford (0-12 to 0-7) at McCumhaill Park on the first day of July. A week later Donegal maintained their interest in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship thanks to Paddy McBrearty’s injury-time winner against Meath at Pairc Tailteann in Navan.

 

The Donegal Masters got  their championship off to the perfect start with a 1-15 to 0-9 wn over Leitrim/Longford in Ballinamore with St. Michael’s man Brian McLaughlin getting the goal in the second half. Val Murray’s side then made it back-to-back wins by overcoming Tyrone on a score of 1-9 to 0-8 at Coaliste Ailigh in Letterkenny with Brian McLaughlin again getting the goal this time in the first half.

 

In horseracing Letterkenny youngster Dylan Browne McMonagle made the long trip to Tipperary to take victory aboard Waratah in the 148 cm ponies. Dylan continued his winning ways with a fine treble – he also had wins with Half Price in the mile and a quarter open and Jungle Juice in the 12 furlong open. A week later the 14-year-old jockey won nine of his 15 mounts at the two-day Big Isle meeting in Manorcunningham.

And near the end of the month Dylan stayed on course for the senior jockeys championship title with three wins at a race meeting in Porthall, Lifford.

 

On the last Friday of July, Finn Harps secured a big three points with a 3-2 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Eddie Dsane and new signing Mark Timlin put Harps 2-0 up at the break. Ten men Bray pulled a goal back but Abrahim Kieta headed in a third that just about saw the visitors over the line after the hosts pulled a second goal back to make it a tense finish for Ollie Horgan’s outfit. It rounded a pretty good month for Harps.

On the first Friday of the month goals from Dsane and Danny Morrissey saw the Donegal outfit record a deserved 2-0 victory over Drogheda United at United Park on Friday night. A week later Dsane was on the mark again along with Sean Houston helping Harps to a really big three points in an impressive performance against in-form Bohemians in Ballybofey. The only low of the month was the concession of those two late goals against Derry City that denied Horgan’s men a share of the spoils in the rescheduled League of Ireland Premier Division match in Ballybofey. The hosts had gone quite well but then those late strikes from Darren Cole and Aaron McEneff gave the Candystripes a 2-0 win.

 

In early July Letterkenny man Dale Gorman converted a penalty to give his English League Two side Stevenage a 2-2 draw against Norwich City in a pre-season friendly. Stevenage came from 2-0 down with Gorman’s spot-kick equalizer coming on 66 minutes.

 

Sean McBride from the Twin Towns and Ramelton lad Shane McNamee played for a Republic of Ireland U19 home based squad in a friendly game against the Irish Universities side in Dublin.

 

Milford woman Amber Barrett and Meenlaragh’s Joe Coll were named in the respective women’s and men’s soccer squads for the 2017 Summer Universiade, which will be hosted in Taipei on the island of Taiwan.

Barrett is a student at NUI Maynooth, was an outstanding underage player with the Republic of Ireland. Her goal scoring record has been consistently of the highest standard and that was recognized last season with a national award when playing with club side Peamount Utd in Dublin.

Goalkeeper Coll currently plays his club football with Donegal Junior League side Glenea Utd with whom he won a Premiership medal back in April. He is a student at the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology. Coll is a former Manchester Utd academy player and was capped at a number of age levels with the Republic of Ireland.

 

 

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter at DL Sportstars.

Donegal Sports Star Awards April Review

Sam and Chloe Magee the first Irish players to win medals at a European Badminton Championships

Friday 28th of April is a date that Sam and Chloe Magee will always remember because it was the day the Raphoe siblings created history in Denmark becoming the first Irish players to win medals at a European Badminton Championships. After a decade that had more than its fair share of disappointments Chloe and Same took bronze medals after defeating a Polish pair 22-20, 17-21, 21-12 in the decider.

That success was certainly the high point of another successful month for Donegal sport.

Donegal Sports Star Review also records another international triumph for the Donegal Sportshall U15 Boys who won a UK Athletics title in Manchester for a second successive year. Another highlight was Jason Quigley taking his major title since turning professional by winning the North American Boxing Confederation title by defeating Glen Tapia in Fantasy Springs, Indio, California. In doing so the Twin Towns man extended his unbeaten pro record to 13 fights.

It was also a good month in martial arts with brother and sister Darragh Beibhinn McCole from Quigleys Point winning gold and silver medals respectively at the WUKF European Championships in Romania. The McColes are members of the Ulster Karate Federation and their club colleague Buncrana man Mike Donaghey landed bronze at the same championships. Darragh and Mick were also members of the cadet kumite team that won silver.

Also in April, Ciaran Crawford, a member of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club, won the Scottish Open Title and also took a silver in the Team Kumite event. There were also silver medals for fellow club members Jamie-Lee Simpson and Emma Dolan in the Team Kumite girls section.

The previous week the Three Rivers Shotokan Club also brought home medals from the JKS Ireland Open at the Dublin City University Sports Complex – Deborah Hannigan Gold (Kunite), Silver (Kata); Emma Dolan Gold (Kunite); Jamie-Lee Simpson Silver (Kunite); Ciaran Crawford Gold (Kunite); Mark Doherty Gold (Kunite); Brodie Hannigan Silver (Kunite) and Eoin Hannigan Gold (Kunite) and Silver (Kata).

12-year-old Tristan Logue from Burnfoot won a North American Grapping Association Judo title in England. He took the gold medal in the Expert Gi Division and also picked up a bronze in the Expert Nogi Division.

It was a great month for Letterkenny Athletic Club who did very well at the highly prestigious Irish Life Health National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Dublin. The Masters’ women’s team, comprising three in-form runners Irene McFadden, Annmarie McGlynn and Monica McGranaghan picked up gold in their event. In the process, they broke the course record for Masters’ women. And the Letterkenny AC’s senior women’s team picked up silver medals. Annmarie McGlynn showed her amazing stamina after running the middle leg for the Masters’ team, she did likewise for the Senior team and did it in 10.29, 14 seconds faster than she had run earlier. The other team members were Nakita Burke and Noeleen Scanlan who ran the first and third legs respectively.

Letterkenny A.C. also had a good day at the Athletics Ireland National 10k Championships, which is subsumed within the Great Ireland run. The men’s team took bronze medals courtesy of Danny Mooney, Eoghan McGinley, Darren McBrearty and Ivan Toner. Fionnuala Diver continued her good form and her time of 38.26 also put her in the medals. She was third in the F35 category. Meanwhile there was silver for the Finn Valley Men at the National Road Relays in Raheny while the club’s women’s team took bronze.

On Monday 11th April, Declan Bonner’s Donegal U21s took the last ever Ulster U21 Football Championship title in very impressive fashion with a massive 13-point win over Derry in the final at the Athletic Grounds (3-17 to 0-13). However, just five days late the great journey came to an end at Breffni Park as Dublin booked their place in the All-Ireland Final with a comfortable 1-13 to 0-9 victory over Declan Bonner’s outfit.

Davin Flynn’s 2-8 helped the Donegal senior hurlers to capture the Division 3A League title in a 4-25 to 1-11 victory over Tyrone at Celtic Park.

On the second Sunday of the month Inishowen A.C’s Pauric McKinney retained his Over 50 title at the Athletics Ireland National 10K Championships in the Phoenix Park. Finn Valley A.C’s John Kelly, a student at the LYIT, won a gold shot putt medal at the Irish Intervarsities Athletics Championships in Cork.

Letterkenny woman Kirsty McElwaine was crowned 2017 Intervarsity Champion at the National Series Triathlon hosted by the Nenagh Club.

In the middle of April it was a dream debut for Kilmacrennan teen racer Caolán Irwin at the opening Irish Championship rounds of the season at Bishopscourt. The Supersport rookie dominated the ‘Cup’ class, taking two wins while running as high as fourth in the overall Irish Championship races.

At the 48th County Senior Athletic Championships Rosses A.Cs Aidan Gillespie equaled Hugo Duggan’s record of eight senior Donegal titles in the Long Jump.

The  21st North West 10k was won in a time of 32 minutes  and 44.3 seconds by Kilmacrennan native Eoghan McGinley running in the colours of Letterkenny A.C. on the revised route due to the Kiltoy Roadworks. It was McGinley’s second time to take top place in the biggest charity road race in the county. Young Finn Valley A.C. athlete Mark McPaul was bidding to win the event for the first time but the Ramelton lad had to settle for the runners-up spot 31 seconds behind McGettigan. McPaul clocked 33.15 for the 10k.

In Basketball the Blaze U16s Girl finished third at the All-Ireland Club Championships. Dunfanaghy Boxing Club head coach Eddie Harkin had a weekend to remember as two of his grandsons Sean Kelly and Odhrán McGinley won National and Ulster titles respectively.

First Eddie was in the corner on at the National Stadium in Dublin as Sean Kelly defeated Martin C McDonagh from Ballina in the Irish Junior 2 48kgs final. It was Kelly’s first Irish title after losing in a final last year. The following day another grandson Odhrán McGinley overcame Jamie Doyle from Gilford, County Down to win the Ulster Boy 3 52kgs title.

Dungloe’s Shaun Sharkey became the first player to retain the County Pool title after defeating Donegal Town’s Shane Faulkner. Shaun recently reached the semi-finals of the European Championships.

After a hugely encouraging run in the league, which included three wins from their opening five games, Donegal’s form dipped just a little in the latter stages of the campaign and they had to settle for just a point from their final two games. That included a 1-12 to 0-13 loss to Mayo in Castlebar.

Meanwhile the Donegal Senior Ladies created another bit of history when Michael Naughton’s side recorded a superb 5-11 to 1-7 victory over Galway at Markievicz Park in Sligo to reach the county’s first ever National League Division 1 Final. That result had been preceded by excellent wins over Cork and Mayo putting Michael Naughton’s side top of the table for the first time ever in the county’s history.

Brian McElhinney, a member of the North West Golf Club, reached the final stages of the PGA  Europro Tour First Stage Qualifying School. In motorsport

Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley finished second in the Monaghan Rally while another Donegal crew Declan and Brian were third in round three of the National Rally Championship. Declan Boyle’s son Michael was nominated for the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year Award after a number of good early season performances including winning the junior section of the Birr Stages event in a Honday Civic.

Letterkenny lad Conor McMenamin was capped for the Ireland U18s rugby team in a 29-17 win over England. And his club, Letterkenny U18s reached Ulster Cup Final for the second successive year after a 64-7 home win over Virginia RFC.

It was bad end to April for Finn Harps as Ollie Horgan’s lost 2-0 to Bohemians at Dalymount Park. That came after losing to Dundalk and Drogheda while there was also defeat in the EA Sports Cup to Sligo Rovers. But on Good Friday, Harps did bag three huge points against their arch North West rivals Derry City at Maginn Park in the club’s first ever away win over the Candystripes. And it was two substitutes B.J. Banda and Mickey Funston who scored the all important goals at the Buncrana venue.

It took a penalty shoot-out for Inishowen to reach their third Oscar Traynor Trophy Final in five years after it had ended 1-1 at the end of extra-time against Limerick and District at Maginn Park. A very late equalizer in the dying seconds of the second period of extra-time from Terence Doherty forced the penalties. After the first Inishowen spot-kick from Nigel McMonagle was saved it took two super stops from home keeper Kevin McLaughlin to secure a place in the Oscar Traynor decider.

There was disappointment for Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin as the Republic of Ireland U19 side failed to qualify for Women’s Elite European Finals that take place in Northern Ireland this summer. McLaughlin played in all three elite qualifiers. A 3-1 defeat against Finland in the final game put an end to the qualification hopes with McLaughlin dismissed for a second yellow card offence in that match.

Michael Devlin’s 70th minute goal clinched the Colin Breslin Cup title for Fanad Utd in a slender 1-0 victory over Letterkenny Rovers in Rathmullan. It meant a memorable  double for Niall Doherty’s boys who last month won the Dick Duffy Memorial Donegal Youth League Championship trophy. Goals from Ryan McFadden, Kevin Mulhern and Darren McGeever helped Glenea Utd to take the Donegal Junior League Premier Division title on Sunday on their home turf at Glasherchoo 3-0 against Rathmullan Celtic. It was a great weekend for the club as their Reserve side won the Saturday Ulster Junior Shield Final 3-2 against Glencar Celtic thanks to a late Tommy Rodgers goal at at An Screaban.

Donegal Town lad Jack Keaney who plays his club football with Sligo Rovers was capped twice for the Republic of Ireland U18s against the Czech Republic and Russia at the Slovakia Cup Tournament. There was also international recognition for Bonagee Utd player Ronan McKinley who is also part of the provisional Finn Harps U15 squad. He was one of the goalscorers for the Republic of Ireland who had a 4-0 win against Norway in the opening match of an invitational tournament in Prague.

The Milford Utd soccer club went into celebration mode after their youth side captured the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Memorial Cup following a remarkable penalty shoot-out against Letterkenny Rovers in Saturday’s final at the Flagpole in Rathmullan. The final had ended 1-1 after extra-time.

Ballybofey native Johnny Dunleavy scored the crucial second goal as Cork City defeated Bray Wanderers 2-1 at Turners Cross to extend their lead at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Cockhill Celtic lifted the Donegal News League Cup title for the fifth successive season thanks to a 1-0 win over Derry City Reserves at the Dry Arch thanks to a 41st minute Jimmy Bradley goal.

At the start of the month there was bitter disappointment for Deele College, Raphoe who lost 2-1 to St. Brendan’s College, Killarney in the FAI Schools Minor Boys National Cup Final at the Home Farm F.C. grounds in Dublin.

Loreto Community School Milford’s Connor Gormley and Jamie Bell, St. Columba’s College Stranorlar made their respective full international debuts for the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys that resulted in a 1-0 defeat by Scotland in Glasgow. Another St. Columba’s College student Sean McBride came on as a second half sub.

Abbey Vocational School student Peader Mogan was presented with his Ulster Schools All Star Award at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Mogan was the first pupil from the school to ever receive this award.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter @DLSportstars.