Two of the undoubted highlights of Donegal Sports Star Awards July review were the European gold medals won by Show Jumper Gavin Harley and Transplant Athlete Ciaran Murray. At the end of the month Rathdonnell man Harley claimed a gold medal as part of an Irish team at the international U21 Championships, which were held at Millstreet in Cork. It was the first time that Team Ireland had won this age group title. Gavin who rode 12-year-old stallion Undergone van de Kapel was the anchor man for the Irish team and jumped the winning clear round to seal victory for the home nation.
Two time Donegal Sports Award winner Ramelton man Kieran Murray won a gold and bronze medal at the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships in Vantaa, Finland. Despite a chest infection Kieran won the golf competition and finished third in the 800m final. Mark English wound up his preparations for the Olympic Games by running a season’s best 1:45.36 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London. It was a massive 2 minutes and 18 seconds better than the 1:47.54 that he clocked in an 800m in Hungary earlier the same week.
At the European Youth Athletics Championships in Tibilisi, Georgia Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC) and Brendan O’Donnell (Lifford-Strabane AC reached the finals of the High Jump and Hammer respectively. O’Donnell recorded a new Personal Best of 70.06m in Tibilisi while Finn Valley girls Arlene Crossan and Janine Boyle got to the semi-final stages of the 200m and 400m Hurdles respectively. A late injury meant that Crossan missed out on a possible chance of place in the final. Earlier in July, Crossan had won the 400m Hurdles Junior U-20 Final in Tullamore.
There was double delight for Donegal GAA at Croke Park on the last Saturday in July as both the senior and minors won their respective All-Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals. The Minors defeated Cork 2-13 to 0-13 points in the curtainraiser. After a sluggish first half, which saw them trail by four points Sean Paul Barrett’s boys produced a much better performance after the break to setup a semi-final meeting with Galway. Earlier in the month the Minors had triumphed in the Ulster Final by defeating Derry.
The Donegal seniors played well in spells on their way to a 0-21 to 1-15 win over Cork with Paddy McBrearty in sparkling form, hitting 11 points in one of the best individual displays witnessed at GAA Headquarters for many years.
Letterkenny 24/7 club member Aidan Callaghan produced a great performance in his first ever Iron Man event in Bolton to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships in Hawaii. Burtonport’s Joe Duffy got back to winning ways taking only 25 seconds to see off the challenge of Canadian Mitch Clarke at the MCM Grand in Las Vegas. It was fourth fastest submission in UFC Lightweight history. It was also Duffy’s 13th win from 15 professional bouts. It was a good July for the Irwin brothers from Kilmacrennan with podium finishes for Caolan and Rhys during Round 5 of the British Championships at Oulton Park at the beginning of the month. Rhys followed that up with a great weekend at the Irish Masters Championships held at the Mondello National Race Track. On an Aprilia the 14-year-old won his own 125cc category and was also the overall class winner getting the better of the higher powered 300cc Kawaskis while also breaking the lap record. Rhys is now the holder of both the Irish and International records at the Mondello Track. Another Kilmcarennan lad Richard Kerr had 3rd and 8th place finishes at the British Superbike Championships at Snetterton. Kerr followed that up a the next round of the championships in Thruxton with 10th and 5th places.
The Magee siblings Chloe and Sam made the quarter-finals of the US Open Grand Prix Gold event in Los Angeles. Chloe reached the last eight in the singles and along with her brother Sam also made it to the mixed doubles quarter-finals. Donegal retained their All-Ireland U21 Hurling C title with a 3-7 to 1-2 win over Fermanagh in Omagh. In athletics Christopher Doherty from Tirconaill AC won the Pole Vault at the Irish U23 and Junior Championships in Tullamore. Two of his club colleagues Kate McGowan and Kelly McGrory both had second places in the Junior U-20 400m Hurdles and U23 400m Hurdles Finals respectively in Tullamore.
There was disappointment for Donegal Town man Karl Griffin who failed to qualify for the European Championships 800m Final in Amsterdam but he did run a season’s best time in his heat. Letterkenny AC’s David Smith won gold in the U15 800m Final at the All-Ireland Juvenile Championships in Tullamore while Oisin Kelly of Cranford AC took silver in the U13 600m event. Dylan Kearns of Finn Valley AC won two silver medals at the All-Ireland Juvenile Championships in Tullamore. He was a member of the 4x100m relay team who came second and also finished runner-up in the Javelin.
The Donegal Gaeltacht Riding Club performed well at the Generali Open World Club Team Show Jumping Tournament in Lamotte-Beuvron, France finishing fourth behind the host nation. The team included Cassandra McGee, Derrybeg; Mickey McHugh, Falcarragh; Trish Warren, Falcarragh and John McDaid, Creeslough. The Chef d’Equipe was Lawrence Smyth, Falcarragh assisted by Frances McGee, Derrybeg. Sisters Geraldine and Nicole McLaughlin were members of the Kerry Donegal team that won the New York Championship.
In Motorsport at the start of the month Declan and Brian Boyle finished third at the Lurgan Park Rally on a Saturday. And the following day the cousins in their Ford Fiesta WRC won the Smartpart ALMC Rally in Trim in the fifth round of the Triton Showers National Championship.
After a good start to July by Finn Harps when Ollie Horgan’s side made it three wins in a row thanks to a 1-0 victory over Galway Utd in Ballybofey there followed successive 1-0 defeats at the hands of both Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds and Wexford Youths in Ballybofey. After an outstanding career Shay Given announced his retirement from international football after 124 appearances for his country from when he made his debut in March 1996.
For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or visit us on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards.
June 2016 is a month that will forever be one of the undoubted highlights in the soccer career of Seamus Coleman. Quite unexpectedly the Killybegs man was handed the captain’s armband by Martin O’Neill for the Republic of Ireland’s final European Championship group qualifier game against Italy in Lille after John O’Shea dropped to the bench. Only three points would do against the Italians and Coleman played a hugely influential part in the 1-0 that setup a meeting with hosts France in the last 16 of the competition. The Everton man’s achievements captured the sporting headlines in Donegal as he retained the skipper’s role for the French game which ended in bitter disappointment as the Republic of Ireland bowed out of the Euros after losing 2-1 to France in Paris. Coleman had setup the Republic of Ireland goal in the 1-1 draw with Sweden in the opener at the Stade de France.
Among the other significant highlights in the Donegal Sports Star Awards June review include the double gold for husband and wife Mick and Paulina Coleman from Stranorlar at the World Drug Free Powerlifting Single Lifts Championships in Wrexham, Wales. Paulina was winning her second world title in a row while it was three on the trot for Mick. In Martial Arts Convoy’s TJ McMenamin took gold in the Masters blue belt category at Heavyweight and landed two bronze medals at the British National IBJJF Championships hosted in the Crystal Palace Sports Arena in London.
There was an unbelievable end to the Donegal International Rally as local crew Manus Kelly and Donal Barrett took the title on the final stage in a Subaru Impreza S12 just half a second ahead of Cork driver Keith Cronin. Kelly and Barrett became the first crew to win the national and international sections of the event in successive years. And they became only the third all-Donegal crew to be crowned champions after Vincent Bonner and Seamus McGettigan (1983) and the Boyle cousins Declan and Brian two years ago.
In early June Kilcar based Peter Donegan experienced bitter disappointment when he and his partner Nigel Power lost the Team Final to England at the European Masters Snooker Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania. Peter also reached the last 16 of the Singles competition. Meanwhile, Annette Pearson from Letterkenny also represented Ireland in the Euro Ladies Finals in both the singles and team categories.
Just a fortnight later Donegan, at 49 years of age, became the oldest winner of the Donegal Snooker Championship when he defeated Anthony Bonnar 4-0 in the final at the North West Club in Letterkenny. Donegan recorded a 116 break in the second frame against the nine times champion. He had also defeated reigning champion Aidan Devenney 4-0 in the semi-final where he put together a 75 break in one of the frames.
At the end of the month North West Snooker Club players Sean Devenney from Letterkenny and Ardara’s Ronan Whyte were members of a six-man Irish U16 team who won the international Celtic Challenge in Llanelii, Wales against the host nation. Ronan won two, drew two and lost while Sean won three, drew two and lost one. Sean also had the highest break of 68. In rowing the two time Overall Donegal Sports Star Award winner Sinead Jennings and her partner had a good weekend at the World Rowing Cup Final in Poznan, Poland finishing fourth overall in the A section. Competing in the Lightweight Double Sculls the Letterkenny woman had won her heat on the Saturday.
St. Johnston’s Brett McGinty missed out on a medal at the European Youth Championships after losing to an Armenian opponent in a quarter-final bout in Anapa, Russia. Young Letterkenny B.C. fighter Paddy McShane had success at the Hull Box Cup going all the way to win the final at the tournament in Yorkshire. 13-year-old McShane who was a member of the Ulster team has had a good year including taking an Irish title back in March and was also named Junior Cadet Champion during the month of June. There was also a gold medal for Ciara Craig of Dunfanaghy ABC at the Hull Box Cup in Yorkshire.
It was a one-two for Donegal as Tir Chonaill AC’s Kelly McGrory was the winner in the 400 metres Hurdles at the National Senior Athletics Championships in Dublin, Lurgybrack girl Arlene Crossan of Finn Valley AC produced a superb performance to finish second in the event. Rio bound Mark English, the reigning Overall Donegal Sports Star Award winner, made a welcome return to competitive athletics by retaining his Irish 800m title at the National Senior Athletics Championships in in Santry while Karl Griffin from Donegal Town was third in the same race. Milford man Brendan Boyce, representing Letterkenny AC, was third in the10k Race Walk while there was gold for Tori Pena (Pole Vault) in the most successful day ever for Donegal athletes at the National Senior Championships in Santry.
There was a gold medal for Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky (High Jump) at the Tailteann Games in Santry and she set a new record that stood for 25 years while she was also named outstanding female athlete. At the same Games there were gold medals for Finn Valley boys Aaron McGlynn in the 800m and James Kelly with a throw of 16.85m in the Shot Putt. At the start of the month St. Catherine’s VS student Dylan Kearns won a Javelin silver medal at the Centenary Irish Schools Athletics Championships in Tullamore.
Letterkenny AC’s Natasha Adams finished second in the Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin. And there were gold medals at the Ulster Championships at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast for John Kelly, Finn Valley AC (Senior Shot Putt) and Shannon Craig, Lifford/Strabane AC (Juvenile High Jump & bronze in the Senior High Jump). Meanwhile, Lifford/Strabane AC’s Brendan O’Donnell set a new personal best of 67.72m to win the U18 Hammer event at the Ulster Juvenile Championships also in Belfast. Letterkenny AC’s David Smith won gold in both the U15 800m and 1500m races at the Ulster Juvenile Championships on the Mary Peter Track in Belfast. Smith also took a bronze in the U15 High Jump. Meanwhile, Edward Grant took gold in his age category in the High Jump.
Donegal Town’s Dillon Muldoon was named Division 3 Male Collegiate Player of the Year at the Basketball Ireland Awards held in Dublin’s National Arena after helping Sligo IT to the Division 3 title. He was MVP in the National League Final and was top scorer in Division 3. His club Donegal Nets were runners-up in the Shannonside League and won the Top Four trophy. There were also Basketball Ireland Awards for Abbey Vocational School (Girls ‘C’ School of the Year) and Coaliste Colmcille, Ballyshannon (Girls ‘B’ School of the Year). Rosses AC’s Ciaran McGonigle produced a super run to finish third in the Derry Marathon in a time of 2.41.24.
On the June Bank Holiday Monday Naomh Conaill retained their All-Ireland Senior Gaeltacht title with a 1-16 to 2-10 victory over Kerry’s An Gaeltacht in the final played at Ballyvourney in Cork. And there was a Donegal double the same day when Downings bridged a 34-year gap by taking the All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht title with a 2-9 to 0-12 victory over Kerry’s An Gaeltacht in the final played at Ballyvourney in Cork.
In Badminton Chloe Magee booked her place in round two of the Canadian Open in Calgary. Olympic qualifier Magee defeated Tai Yi of Canada over three sets, losing the first 21-10 but came back to win the next two, 21-18 21-19. However, Chloe then missed out on a quarter-final after losing to the number one seed Michelle Li in straight sets. In the mixed doubles Chloe and Sam Magee progressed to the last eight with a comfortable 21-15 21-13 win. Meanwhile, Sam and Joshua Magee needed three sets on to reach the last eight against a Canadian pair, winning 27-25 19-21 21-19.
The St. Eunan’s U14 Girls won the All-Ireland Camogie Feile Shield title defeating Cappoquin from Waterford in the decider 2-01 to no score. Indeed it was a very successful couple of weeks for the St. Eunan’s U14 Camogie team who completed the domestic double with a County Championship Final win over Carndonagh to add to the earlier league title success. It ended 4-04 to 0-00 to complete their double and bring home a second straight U14 A County Championship title to O’Donnell Park.
In cycling Muff man Ronan McLaughlin won the first Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Race. He finished the 555k cycle in a time of 19 hours 45 minutes and 48 seconds. Runner-up was Jason Black with Joe Barr third. The first riders home were the two-man team of Conor McElwaine and Matthew McKinley in a time of 17 hours and 44 minutes. In equestrian 13-year-old James McCloughan from Kilmacrennan represented Ireland at the Junior Tetrathlon Championships at Mortem Morrell, Warrickshire. James was on the Irish team competing against England, Scotland and Wales with the events including running, swimming, pistol shooting and cross-country riding. The Coaliste Ailigh student is a member of the East Donegal Pony Club.
The Donegal Gaeltacht Riding Club became the first Irish team to be selected to represent the country at the Generali World Show Jumping Tournament in Lamotte-Beuvron in France. The Donegal team got the nod from the International Affairs Committee of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs (AIRC) for the competition which is organized by the Federation Francaise d’Equitation (FFE). 1992 All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Molloy received the Freedom of Donegal award at a Civic Reception in Lifford.
The Donegal Senior Football team had to settle for a draw after a late Conor McManus free gave Monaghan a second chance in an Ulster Championship semi-final that ended 1-11 to 0-14 with Odrhran MacNiallais getting his third goal in two games for Rory Gallagher’s side. Earlier in the quarter-final and despite playing the entire second half with just 14 men following the straight red card dismissal of Neil McGee Donegal comfortably saw of the challenge of Fermanagh 2-12 to 0-11 with MacNiallais getting the ‘Man of the Match’ award after scoring 2-1 against the Ernesiders and that also earned the Gweedore man the GAA.ie ‘Footballer of the Week’ accolade.
The Donegal Minors booked their place in the Ulster Final with an impressive 3-15 to 2-12 victory over Monaghan at Breffni Park. Reigning Ladies Ulster Senior champions Donegal suffered defeat in the provincial semi-final going down 1-9 to 1-8 against Cavan in Killyclogher. In hurling
Donegal won the Ulster Senior Championship Shield Final for the first time thanks to a 5-13 to 2-14 victory over Monaghan in Enniskillen. Bryan Gorman from Donegal Town took a silver medal in the Masters brown belt category, at medium heavy weight at the British National IBJJF Championships hosted in the Crystal Palace Sports Arena in London. Paddy McBride, a native of Carrigart took bronze in his category. Other Donegal Rilion Gracie club successes included Declan Bushell also from Donegal Town who brought home a bronze in his category. Killybegs Sea Angling Club member Bernie O’Callaghan won a bronze medal as part of an Irish team at the European Sea Angling Championships in Wexford. Their success came in the longest fish category.
It was a good month for Finn Harps who at the start of June caused somewhat of a surprise with a 3-0 win over an in-form Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey thanks to a double from Sean Houston and one from Ryan Curran. Then after the mid-season break Ollie Horgan’s side carved out a significant win when overcoming bottom of the table Longford Town 2-0 at the City Calling Stadium. The result put them 12 clear of Longford and 11 in front of Bray Wanderers. It was the first away victory of the season for Ollie Horgan’s side. And it was first goals of the season respectively for Josh Mailey and Tony McNamee that secured the three points. Meanwhile the Donegal U16 girls’ squad won the Plate title at the Gaynor Cup in Limerick.
There was a big success for Milford Tennis Club member Bernard McGettigan who won the Tipperary U16 Boys singles title in his first ever competition on clay.
For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards.
Audiences are in for a treat this summer with the second annual Donegal International Folk & Roots festival only a few weeks away. According to Shaun Hannigan, Manager of the Regional Cultural Centre (RCC), the Donegal International Folk & Roots festival is one of the biggest music festivals ever held in Letterkenny and is part of the Earagail Arts Festival.
“The festival features a jam-packed programme of talks, music sessions, busking and concerts in a variety of international folk and roots styles including the first ever Irish concert by Chouk Bwa Libete, one of the foremost Haitian Voodoo bands”.
“There is an incredible series of concerts at the RCC including Bellows & Bows on Wednesday 13th featuring tutors from this years Ceol na Coille Summer School, master uilleann piper Padráig McGovern and harpist Sabina McCague”.
“There is a special focus this year on Irish and English Folk song and this is part of Ireland 2016 centenary programme. Folk song has formed an important part of the cultural legacy of both these islands and we want to use this as a medium to gently explore the complex and sometimes not so complex relationship between Ireland and England”.
The three days of Irish & English Folk kicks off on Friday 15th with a brilliant double bill of raw, fresh contemporary folk featuring Lynched from Dublin and Stick in the Wheel from London. Two legendary folk singer song writers Andy Irvine from Ireland and Chris Woods from England will perform on Saturday 16th and Richard Dawson, the experimental, folk-tinged singer and guitarist from Newcastle will play later that day.
The final English/ Irish folk gig will take place on Sunday 17th with Sam Lee’s ‘Other Voices’. The Mercury Prize nominated folk singer brings together some Irish Traveller singers, hosting a unique sing-around to share some of their incredible voices and unheard songs.
Also on Saturday renowned singer and Fear ‘a Ti, Jerry O’Reilly of the Goilín Traditional Singers Club in Dublin will provide a keynote address looking at the relationship between Irish and English folk song and this will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Andy Irvine, Chris Wood chaired by Grace Toland Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Another panel discussion will take place on Sunday at 3.30pm looking at folk songs today and the panel will include Sam Lee, Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh and Grace Toland, chaired by Ben Mandelson founding Director of Womex.
The majority of concerts and talks take place at the RCC with the final gala concert ‘Home to Ballybeg’, a tribute to Brian Friel by Manus Lunny, taking place at An Grianán Theatre on Sunday July 17th.
There will be music throughout the town with the Letterkenny Busking Festival on Saturday 16th and pub music sessions on the 16th and 17th.
With lots of day trips and visits to organise over the next few months, the Donegal Gathering website is great site to visit to find out more about what is happening in Donegal throughout the summer.
The website was first set up as part of the Donegal Diaspora project a number of years ago and has become a great site to visit to find out more about what Donegal has to offer.
The site is simple and easy to use and you can check out events happening each month. For example this month the North West Opera Gala Evening at Glenveagh Castle will take place on the 17 & 18 June and the Donegal International Rally will once again attract thousands of visitors to the county this weekend.
Other events featured for the month of June include the Tirconnell Stone Festival, the Northwest Offshore Racing events in Donegal Bay, the Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival in Bundoran and the Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra Cycling Race, to name but a few.
The Finn Valley Agricultural Show and the Donegal Town Summer Festival are just two of the fun filled family events happening over the next few weeks in Donegal.
With the Earagail Arts Festival set to run from the 8th to the 24th July, a wide range of events and activities are planned for the many towns and villages along the stunning coast line of Donegal.
Lots of outdoor, family and children events are planned as part of the festival as well as music, theatre, comedy and visual art performances.
As Paul Brown, Festival Director says “the Earagail Arts Festival will once again allow us to experience a wealth of talent and culture that will awaken all our senses so that we can fully appreciate the magnificence of a county on the wild atlantic fringe of Europe”.
http://www.donegalgathering.com is maintained by the Donegal Tourism office based at the Public Service Centre in Donegal Town and if you are organising an event and would like to see it included please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Iga Lawne from Donegal Tourism is delighted with the increase in visitor numbers to the Donegal Gathering website. “We developed this website a number of years ago and it was initially for one year only. However, it was very successful and lots of festival and event organisers found it very useful to promote their events and the visitors to the website also found it useful when they were planning trips to Donegal or simply planning family day trips in the county. It has now become a very important part of our tourism marketing campaigns.”
“We are also on Facebook and Twitter and I would encourage anyone who is interested in what’s on in Donegal to follow us.”
Visit www.donegalgathering.com to find out what is happening in Donegal this summer.
Check out Donegal Gathering on Facebook and Twitter
The Donegal Sports Star Awards February review reveals an excellent month for athletics especially for Mark English, Brendan Boyce and young Finn Valley runner Aaron McGlynn. English continued his fine start to the year by setting a new Irish indoor record for 500m as he took his first victory of the year in Stockholm. English won the race at the Golden Galan event in a time of 1 minute 0.93 seconds in the Swedish capital. The reigning Overall Donegal Sports Star Award winner was then second in a season’s best of 1:46.99 over 800m at the Emirates Arena the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix. At the end of the month the UCD student took his fourth Irish Indoor 800m title at the GloHealth National Senior Indoor in a time of 1:51.57.
At the same finals Brendan Boyce finally struck gold when the Milford man won the men’s 5k walk in 20 minutes 17.81 seconds. The Letterkenny AC member had been unsuccessful in 12 previous attempts to take the title. It was a very good month for Aaron McGlynn who first recorded a new Personal Best of 1:54.13 over 800m at a GloHealth Indoor Games event. The Finn Valley member topped that by winning gold in the 800m at the English U17 Finals in Sheffield, England in a time of 1:56:06 and over the same distance at the GloHealth National Indoor Championships in Athlone at the end of February the Glenfin boy qualified for the senior final after finishing runner-up to Mark English in a heat clocking 1:56.23 for the 800m.
It was good month for the Magee family at the National Senior Championship in the Baldoyle Badminton Centre. Chloe Magee won her tenth senior defeating second seed Sara Boyle in straight sets, 21-7 21-11. And there was with further success for Chloe who with her brother Sam won the mixed doubles defeating Ciaran Chambers and Sinead Chambers in the final 21-13 21-4 while Joshua and Sam Magee won the men’s doubles against Nhat Nguyen and Paul Reynolds 21-12 21-11. There was medal success for three Donegal men at an international tug of war competition in Holland. Liam Strain, from Buncrana, won gold; Adrian Lynch took bronze for the Ireland 640kg team. Another Buncrana man Paul Duffy won silver with his Co Louth club St Pat’s in the 560kg category.
On the national stage Coaliste Colmcille Ballyshannon won the U16B All-Ireland League Final defeating Dominican College Galway 31-29. At the end of February Letterkenny Institute of Technology took the Independent.ie HE Hurling Championship Division 3 All-Ireland title with a 1-11 to 2-6 victory over Robert Gordon University (Aberdeen) in the final with Donegal senior player Sean McVeigh scoring nine points in the decider. In swimming Cora Rooney (Holy Family N.S. Ballyshannon) won gold in both the 50m Butterfly and 50m Backcrawl at the Irish Minor Schools Swimming Championships in the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin while Darragh Sommerville (Creevy N.S. Ballyshannon) won bronze. Jonathon Martin (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny) won his first ever gold medal at the Ulster School’s Swimming Championships in Ballymena. He won the 100m Backstroke Final in a time of 1 minute seven seconds and also took a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle.
Buncrana men Kieran McDaid and Johnny Bonner were members of the Carlow IT side that won the Colleges Premier League title with an extra-time 2-1 win over Colaste Stiofain Naofa in Killester. Bonner won the man of the match after scoring the two goals in the decider. It was 1-1 at full-time with Bonner’s first goal coming from the penalty spot. And in extra=time and it was Bonner who hit the winner for the Carlow men. Three Donegal lads Georgie Kelly, Ryan McLaughlin and Darragh Black picked up national colleges medals as members of the UCD side that defeated University Limerick 2-1 in the Collingwood Cup Final. Kelly scored the equalizer in the decider. Earlier in February Black, McLaughlin and Kelly played key roles as University College Dublin won the national Harding Cup Final thanks to a 1-0 extra-time victory over Dublin City University in Galway.
In the middle of the month St. Johnston boxer Brett McGinty recorded a fine win, fighting for an Ulster team in Newport, Wales against the host nation. In early February McGinty had won his 12th Ulster title in the Youth 3 final at 69kgs at the Ulster 9 Counties in Hazelwood Integrated College, Belfast. The reigning Donegal Sports Star ‘Equestrian’ Award holder Mary Devine took a first and second place at the Dressage Ireland Eastern Regional show at Marlton Stud in Co. Wicklow and there. At the end of February again at the DI northern regional show but this time in Danescroft, Lisburn Mary took first and second place in her category becoming the first Donegal based dressage competitor to qualify for the Dressage Ireland National Winter Finals at medium level which are taking place in Cavan in early April.
In rugby the Letterkenny U18s were crowned Ulster Premier Division champions after a huge 71-0 victory over Carrickfergus at Dave Gallaher Park. In the middle of February the Donegal senior men’s team took second in the Inter-County Cross Country Athletics Championships at Tuam in Galway while Tir Chonaill AC’s Conall Mahon took bronze in the men’s triple jump at the GloHealth National Indoor Championships in Athlone with a best leap of 14.06 metres. Donegal Basketball Club U14 girls team won the North West League title defeating Ballyshannon 88ers 49-27. The Donegal girls were unbeaten all season.
The Donegal senior ladies side had a very good February with a victory over Laois in Moville (4-11 to 1-3); Geraldine McLaughlin notched 3-8 against Sligo in Tourlestrane (4-17 to 2-4) and finally there was the defeat of Meath in Trim (3-17 to 3-8). Rory Gallagher saw his Donegal side end the month with maximum points in Division 1 after two further wins over Cork in Ballyshannon (2-14 to 1-7) and against Mayo at McCumhaill Park (1-14 to 1-12) to sit joint top of the Division table along with Dublin in an unbeaten start to the season for both side. And the inaugural gaa.ie ‘Player of the Week’ was won by Donegal’s Michael Murphy after his outstanding performance that included a near perfect exhibition of free taking in the victory over Down at the end of January.
Three Donegal players Naomh Ultan’s Daniel Gallagher along with St Eunan’s pair Michael Miller and Conor Morrison were members of the DCU side that won the final of the Corn Daithi Billings (Freshers A) overcoming UCD by 3-11 to 2-10 in the decider at Croke Park. Killybegs man Joe McBrearty was a part of the backroom staff while Michael McConalogue was on statistics. Kilcar’s Conor Doherty was a second half substitute for Dundalk Institute of Technology in their Trench Cup win over Waterford IT on Saturday by 1-14 to 1-8 in Jordanstown. Eamonn Carr (Fanad Gaels), Darragh McGee (Dungloe), Antoin Travers (Ardara), Michael Friel (Naomh Colmcille) and Stephen Mulligan (McCumhaills) were members of the Marino College Dublin side that won the national Third Level Colleges’ MacLeinn Cup at the University of Ulster Jordanstown thanks to a 5-21 to 1-8 victory in the final over Magee College Derry.
In handball Dromore NS pupil Oisin Marley took the Ulster U13 40×20 Single title in Belfast. Caoimhe McGlynn won the Ulster U13 Girls Singles title while there was silver in the doubles for her school colleagues Eleanor Moy and Katie McGlynn. At the Ulster Juvenile Handball Championships in Kingscourt Odhrán McGlynn was crowned Ulster Champion in the Under-15 Grade. St. Eunan’s U21s won their first Donegal U21 hurling title thanks to a 2-9 to 0-5 win over reigning champions Setanta at the O’Donnell Park. In Martial Arts there was a 15-medal haul for the Three Rivers Shotokan Club Lifford including seven golds at the JKS Ireland National Championships at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin.
And there was success for the Club from Lifford in Belfast at the 25th North South championships under the JKS Ireland banner. This event seen clubs from Scotland, England and all over Ireland descend on the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Natasha Doherty won Gold and both Emma Dolan and Ciarán Crawford took bronze medals in their events. In the team event Natasha, Emma and Jamie-Lee Simpson won gold in their group and Ciarán as part of an U14 group. Ballybofey’s Paul Kelly secured his place in an Irish National Kickboxing final after defeating Tooey Buskaw Banchamek from Galway Kickboxing Club at the Tallaght Leisure Centre with a unanimous decision win.
Letterkenny man Rory Kennedy was the navigator as Garry Jennings drove his Subaru Impreza to win the Galway Rally. Meanwhile, another Letterkenny co-driver Johnny Baird partnered Wesley Patterson to second place in the national category. The reigning Donegal Sports Star ‘Motorpsport’ Award winner Donagh Kelly in a WRC Ford Focus retained his Birr Stages Rally title with Conor Foley calling the notes. Dungloe brother and sister Shaun and Helena Sharkey were on international duty for their country at the European Championships in Nantes, France, Shaun, the first ever winner of the Donegal Sports Star ‘Pool’ Award finished seventh in the overall finishing rankings while Helena who was making her Irish debut finished 11th overall in the women’s section. In the team semi-final Helena won her three matches in a tight 8-7 victory over hosts France. However, there was disappointment for the Dungloe woman in the final as the Irish lost 8-3 to England.
Ardara’s Ronan Whyte won his first senior soccer title by defeating the Connacht Final Aidan Devenney 3-2 in the final at the Northwest Snooker Club in Letterkenny. After a winning start to February for Ballybofey’s Larissa Muldoon and Nora Stapleton of Fahan who featured for the Ireland Senior Women’s rugby side in their opening defence of the RBS 6 Nations title at Donnybrook with a 21-3 win over Wales. However the two Donegal women then experienced defeat 18-6 to France in Perpignan and 13-9 to England before the end of the month. Gweedore Celtic’s Marc Walsh played twice for the Republic of Ireland in friendly internationals at a four -team invitational tournament in Turkey. The Irish went down 2-1 to Holland and won 2-1 over Austria.
Thursday 18th February – The LYIT men’s suffered a massive disappointment at Clones as they lost out 3-2 to Dundalk IT in a thrilling League One colleges final.
Shane Byrne’s side came from 1-0 down to take the lead thanks to Anthony Appiah’s two first half goals. Dundalk drew level on 71 minutes and almost immediately found themselves 3-2 behind. The Donegal Junior League secured their place in the last four of the Oscar Traynor Cup thanks to a 6-5 sudden death penalty-shoot out win over the North Eastern Football League at the Moss in Drumoghill. Milford Utd’s Kyle Black had equalized just before the hour mark for Brian Dorrian’s side after the visitors had taken an eighth minute lead. And extra-time couldn’t separate the two sides with the game ending 1-1. Glenea Utd goalkeeper Joe Coll proved to be the spot-kick match winner saving the 14th penalty in the sudden death shoot-out.
Ballybofey’s Johnny Dunleavy captained Cork City to President’s Cup success with a 2-0 win over Dundalk in the final at Turner’s Cross. At the end of February the Letterkenny Rovers senior side reached the last four of the FAI Intermediate Cup thanks to a 2-1 victory over Killester Utd from Dublin at Leckview Park. The goal scorers for Eamonn McConigley’s side were Christy Conaghan and a Darren McElwaine penalty. There was disappointment for the Lagan Harps U18 Ladies who were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Castlebar Celtic in the WFAI Final at McSharry Park in Sligo. Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin was named the Continental Tyres Women’s National League Player of the Month award for January/February. The Irish underage international who now plays her club football with Peamount United was outstanding for Dublin side in the national league since the New Year. There was big disappointment for Mulroy College Milford who were beaten 2-1 in the All-Ireland B Senior Girls Final by St. Peter’s Passage West (Cork) at the AUL in Dublin.
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