Donegal Sports Star Awards June review

Seamus Coleman

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.

TJ McMenamin
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.

Paulina and Mick Coleman
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 ‘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 or on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards.

Council hosts Ulster Minor & Senior Football Finals Press Conference

Yesterday evening Seamus Neely the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council was delighted to host the Donegal GAA press conference ahead of the eagerly awaited Ulster Minor and Senior Football Finals in Clones on Sunday next.


Donegal International Folk & Roots festival only a few weeks away

Donegal International Folk & Roots festival logo

Donegal Folk & Roots Weekend logo 2016

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”.

Shaun Hannigan

Shaun Hannigan (RCC Manager)

“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.

Lynched & Stick in the Wheel


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.


For more information visit or or call An Grianán Theatre on 074 9120777.



What’s happening in Donegal this Summer

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.


Donegal Gathering

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 tEAFowns 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”. 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


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 to find out what is happening in Donegal this summer.


Check out Donegal Gathering on Facebook and Twitter

Donegal Sports Star Awards February Review

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 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 ‘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.

For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to Facebook Donegalsport Starawards or at


Donegal Sports Star Awards April review

Donegal enjoyed a range of sporting successes in April with athletics, badminton, GAA, martial arts and soccer all featuring in the monthly review. Among the highlights was undoubtedly Chloe Magee’s qualification for a third successive Olympic Games. The Raphoe woman who represented her country in Beijing and London defeated a Portagese opponent Telma Santon in France to clinch her place at the Rio Olympics. It was a good month for martial arts as Convoy’s TJ McMenamin won two gold medals in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the 2016 European IBJJF NO-GI Championships at the Palazzetto dello Sport, Piazza Apollodoro in Rome, Italy. Bryan Gorman from Donegal Town also secured a European NO-GI silver medal in the Masters brown belt category at the same championships.

Meanwhile Three Rivers Shotokan Karate Club members James Lee Simpson and Emma Dolan won bronze medals at the Scottish International Open Championships at the Meadowbank Sports Complex in Glasgow. There was also the remarkable return to top flight soccer of Ramelton man Conrad Logan after a 16-month injury absence. Just after signing a short-term loan deal the 30-year-old goalkeeper turned in a man-of-the-match performance including two saves in a penalty shoot-out to help Hibernians secure a place in the Scottish Cup Final against Glasgow Rangers.

In the middle of April history was made at the UK Sportshall Championships in Manchester when the Donegal U15 Boys took the international title for the first time in the 40-year history of the event under a management team of Louise Gillespie, Sharon Bradley, Gerry Davenport, Thomas Mullen, Sean Loughrey, Sean McGinley and Brendan O’Donnell. The winning team included Pauric Harrold, Liam Keane, Thomas Mullen, Aaron McGrath and Joe Sharkey. There were also super national athletics successes for Tirconaill AC’s Kate McGowan representing University College Dublin and John Kelly for Letterkenny IT who both won gold medals at the Irish Universities Championships Finals in Santry. Kelly took the Shot Putt title with a throw of 16.16 setting a new Donegal record. McGowan was winner of the 400m hurdles in a time of 63.08.

In soccer Letterkenny Rovers reached their first ever FAI Intermediate Cup Final with a 2-0 replay win over Ringmahon Rangers from Cork at Leckview Park while Moville Community College had a 2-0 win over Athlone Community College. In early April, Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin got the first goal as the Republic of Ireland U19s defeated Azerbaijan 3-0 in the second game of the Elite qualifiers in Dublin.  The April GAA highlights included Geraldine McLaughlin’s remarkable personal tally of 4-12 as Letterkenny I.T. won the Higher Education Ladies Football Donaghy Cup Final 4-15 to 3-15 against IT Blanchardstown at the UCD Campus. Cloughaneely club woman Roisin Curran and Deirdre Foley (Carndonagh) were named on the 2016 Ladies Higher Education All-Star team after playing key roles on the University College Dublin side that took the O’Connor Cup title while Glenswilly’s Philip O’Donnell won an Football Rising Stars Award for his performances with Dublin City University who reached the final of the Sigerson Cup. An injury-time Aidan McLaughlin helped the Donegal Minors make it back-to-back Ulster League title in a 3-9 to 1-13 victory over Tyrone.

In early April after a ten-year gap there was national success for Letterkenny Boxing Club when Paddy McShane won the Boy 3 3kgs Final at the National Stadium in Dublin in a unanimous decision against MJ O’Brien. There was also a national title at the same championships for young Dunfanaghy ABC fighter Bernie McDonagh in the Boy 1 36kg category. Rory Gallagher’s Donegal senior side suffered a heavy ten-point defeat in the National Football League Division 1 semi-final 1-20 to 0-13 against Dublin in Croke Park.  In the middle of the month Loreto Community School Milford recorded a 9-18 to 8-6 win over St. Clare’s Ballyjamesduff to win the Corn Mac Neasa (U14 half) Ulster Final in Garvaghy while the Donegal Minor Hurlers lifted the Ulster Shield title thanks to a 3-14 to 3-9 victory over Tyrone at Celtic Park.

The Donegal senior ladies booked their place in the Division 2 League Final for the second successive year in a 0-13 to 0-6 win over Cavan in Beragh, Co. Tyrone. In hockey the Raphoe senior ladies side stayed in the hunt for promotion after 4-2 home win over Ballycastle with the help of Kimberley Porter hat-trick.  The Three Rivers Club had further success at the International Open Karate Championships in Ardree with gold for Ciaran Crawford, Ace Rodriquez and Emma Dolan. Declan and Brian Boyle in their Ford Fiesta WRC secured a convincing win the Circuit of Kerry Rally in the second round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Shaun Sharkey won the Donegal County Pool Championship Final for the second time in three years and also helped Owenie’s Bar to the team title. In rugby Donegal Town RFC won the Ulster U18 Shield Final 14-10 against City of Derry in Cookstown.

A the beginning of the month Amy Boyle Carr (St Columba’s Comprehensive Glenties) and vice-captain Tyler Toland (Deele College Raphoe both scored in the Republic of Ireland U15s 5-0 win over Wales in the Bob Docherty Tournament in Wales. Carr and Toland both also featured as the Irish made it back-to-back wins in the tournament thanks to a 3-1 victory came at Dragon Park against Northern Ireland. But there was disappointment for the Donegal girls after losing 1-0 to England in their final game. The dream of an Oscar Traynor Cup title came to an end at the semi-final stage for the Donegal Junior League who lost 3-1 to Clare in Ennis.

In April Finn Harps lost three times 1-0 away to Galway Utd; 2-1 to St. Patrick’s Athletic in Ballybofey and 3-1 to Cork City at Turner Cross. An early Dave Scully goal gave Ollie Horgan a fortunate 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers in Ballybofey while at the end of the month, Harps had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park. Horgan’s outfit bowed out of the EA Sports Cup losing out 4-2 on penalties to Galway Utd at Eamonn Deacy Park. Gweedore’s Mark Walsh impressed as the Republic of Ireland U15 side who recorded back to back victories over the Czech Republic to finish their international season on a high as they ran out 3-1 winners at Cahir Park AFC in Co Tipperary today. Adrian Delap and Gareth Doherty came on as second half subs while B.J. Banda was a squad member as the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys side defeated Scotland in Killarney.


Donegal Sports Star Awards May review

Heading the highlights in the Donegal Sports Star Awards May review was undoubtedly the gold medals picked up by the Magee brothers Sam and Joshua who took the Slovenian International Badminton title as the Raphoe siblings had a 2-1 sets win over Danes Mathias Bay-Smidt and Frederik Sagard Mortensen. It was one of many super sporting achievements during the month with athletics, boxing, GAA, hockey, motorcycling and soccer all featuring prominently.

Magee Brothers Sam and Joshua

Magee brothers Sam and Joshua

 Right up there was Ramelton native Conrad Logan’s role in helping Hibernian to win the Scottish Cup Final with a dramatic late 3-2 victory over Rangers at Hampden Park. It was a truly remarkable two months for the 30-year-old goalkeeper who had spent well over a year out of competitive football due to injury. His first match back being the semi-final cup win over Dundee Utd in April before becoming a regular as Hibs pushed for promotion to the Premiership. That ultimately ended in bitter disappointment as the Edinburgh side lost 3-2 in the second leg play-off promotion semi-final away to Falkirk meaning a 5-4 aggregate defeat.

The Donegal Senior Ladies also had a memorable May winning the National League Division 2 title and promotion back to the top flight after a comprehensive 3-17 to 0-13 victory over Westmeath at Parnell Park in Dublin. Seven of that squad were then on the Ulster team that took the Inter-provincial football title for the fifth successive year thanks to a 4-7 to 0-11 victory over Connacht in Kinnegad. Glenfin’s Yvonne McMonagle picked up the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award as she scored two of the Ulster goals in the decider. The other Donegal players in the panel were Hegarty sisters Niamh and Ciaran; Treasa Doherty, Katy Herron, Deirdre Foley and Laura Gallagher. And at the end of the month the Hegarty sisters Ciara and Niamh along with Treasa Doherty, Deirdre Foley and Yvonne McMonagle were selected on the Ladies Division 2 ‘Team of the Year’.

Janine Boyle

Janine Boyle


In athletics the reigning Donegal Sports Star ‘Secondary School’ Award holder Janine Boyle of Finn Valley reached the qualifying time for the European Youth 200m Championships in Tiblisi in July with a time of 24.78 in Waterford. Other qualifiers for the Euros included her club colleagues Arlene Crossan (400m hurdles), Aaron McGlynn (800m) and Brendan O’Donnell ((hammer). On the last Sunday in May, Crossan won the 400m hurdles at an athletics meeting in Belgium setting a new PB with a time of 60.5 seconds while Boyle was a member of the Irish 4x100m relay team that reached the qualifying time for the World Junior Championships with a combined time of 46.5 seconds.

Bret McGinty 3

Bret McGinty

The career of young St. Johnston boxer Brett McGinty continued on the upward curve as he took another national title after the Oakleaf B.C. member defeated Jordan Meredith (Glasnevin B.C.) in the 69kg final. McGinty took the title after the fight was stopped in the second round at the National Stadium. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Jason Quigley overcame Mexican James de La Rosa in Las Vegas with a unanimous points verdict to extend his unbeaten professional fight wins to eleven. There was a huge achievement for the Raphoe Ladies Club as their first XV was promoted to Premier League Hockey after finishing second in Senior One.

It was a very good month for 14-year-old Kilmacrennan boy Rhys Irwin who won two races and had a total of four podium finishes at the British Superteen UK Championships at Snertherton. He followed that up with firsts in both his races on his 125 cc Aprilla at the Mondello Masters Irish Championships. In the second win he also smashed a long-standing lap record. Meanwhile Creeslough endurance athlete Shaun Stewart won the grueling Ireland Coast to Coast Challenge which ended in Newcastle, Co. Down in the early hours of a Sunday morning having started out in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo the day before. On the last day of May there was disappointment for Leitirmacarward’s Carl McHugh who was a member of the Plymouth Argyle side who lost to Wimbledon in an English League Division Two promotion play-off Final at Wembley. Earlier McHugh had helped his club to secure a place in the decider after a late 1-0 victory over Portsmouth gave them a 3-2 aggregate win. It was still a good season for the Donegal man who was named Argyle’s ‘Player of the Year’ in an on-line poll conducted by the Plymouth Hearld newspaper.

A fantastic Intermediate Cup run ended badly for Letterkenny Rovers on Saturday 14th May as Eamonn McConigley’s side suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat to Crumlin Utd in the Final at the Aviva Stadium. However, the Rovers players did restore a great deal of pride in the jersey just a week later with an excellent 0-0 draw away to Athlone Town in the second round of the FAI Senior Cup. Three days later and despite an impressive performance Letterkenny bowed out of the FAI Senior Cup as a late extra-time goal gave Athlone a 1-0 win and a place in the third round draw after a replay at Leckview Park.

On the first day of the month Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty won the 20th North West 10k in a time of 31:59 with Maria McCambridge first female home clocking 34.38.  Staying with athletics a former Donegal Sports Star Award winner Brendan Boyce clocked 85.30 for the 20k at the IAAF World Race Walking Championship in Rome. In boxing Shaun McShane the Leitirmacaward native got back to winning ways by defeating Youseef Al Hamid at Glasgow’s Grangemouth Sports Complex. Young Errigal C.C. cyclist Conor Halvey won his second three-day event of the season by taking victory in Kanturk, Co. Cork

On the May Bank Holiday weekend Fanad Gaels won Donegal Ladies Junior Gaeltacht title for the first time defeating Naomh Muire in the final in Glenties. Naomh Conaill retained their County Senior Gaeltacht crown with a 3-14 to 3-6 win over near neighbours Ardara in the decider at Davy Brennan Park. On the same day four Yvonne McMonagle goals helped Glenfin to retain the Ladies Senior Gaeltacht title overcoming Termon 4-9 to 3-6 in Glenties. And Downings came from behind to make it two-in-a-row Donegal Junior Gaeltacht titles with a 2-11 to 2-7 victory over hosts Naomh Conaill at Davy Brennan Park.

St. Eunan’s College won the Danske Bank Treanor Cup title with an easy 4-10 to 2-6 victory over St. Patrician High School, Carrickmacross at Drumragh, Omagh. On the last Sunday in May, Sean Paul Barrett’s Donegal Minors got a bit of fright before coming back to defeat Antirm 2-11 to 2-7 at Corrigan Park in Belfast. Two goals in the latter stages of the Ulster Championship quarter-final clash from St. Eunan’s Niall O’Donnell helped to secure the victory. In Golf Carndonagh Community School won the Donegal Schools Golf Championship in Dunfanaghy. There was rally success for the current Donegal Sports Star ‘Motorsport’ award holder Donagh Kelly when the Frosses man came from behind to win the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney. It was Kelly’s second time to win the event but with Conor Foley calling the notes this time. Driving a Subaru WRC for the first time Glenswilly’s Manus Kelly and Donal Barrett from Milford won the Carlow Rally in the third round of the National Championships.

In rowing two-time Overall Donegal Sport Star Award winner Letterkenny’s Sinead Jennings and her partner Claire Lambe finished ninth overall at the European Rowing Championships in Brendenburg, Germany. The Letterkenny U18 rugby side were beaten by Armagh RFC with 19-12 the final score at Ravenhill. On the soccer front Gweedore Celtic’s Marc Walsh started for the Republic of Ireland U16s who lost out 2-0 to Austria in the four-team tournament in Hungary. He also came on as sub in the win over the hosts. On the last Sunday of the month Cockhill Celtic completed a magnificent treble by defeating Letterkenny Rovers 2-0 in the League Cup Final at Bonagee thanks to a brace of goals from Gerry Gill. Earlier in May a 2-2 home draw against Derry City Reserves was enough for Cockhill to clinch the Ulster Senior League title for the fourth consecutive year. And the second part of the treble was completed when Gavin Cullen’s side had a 2-0 win over Glengad Utd in the Knockalla Caravans Cup Final at Maginn Park.

Drumoghill F.C. clinched the Donegal Junior League Premier Division title for the first time after a 2-2 draw with Gweedore Celtic at ‘The Moss’.  It was for the most part a very difficult month for Finn Harps as it started of needing a late Ciaran Gallagher penalty-save ensure a 0-0 draw against Bohemians in Ballybofey. The best result came at the Brandywell as a late Sean Houston equalizer salvaged a point for Ollie Horgan’s side in a 2-2 draw with Derry City. But it was a different story three days later as Harps were hammered 7-0 by Dundalk in Ballybofey. That was quickly followed by a 4-0 defeat by St. Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park and Harps also made an embarrassing exit from the FAI Senior Cup after losing 1-0 to non-league Crumlin Utd in Ballybofey. But there was a chink of light at the end of the May as Horgan’s outfit halted that dreadful run with a 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium with Dave Scully getting an early second half equalizer.

Glenea Utd Reserves made it a double by defeating Glencar Celtic 1-0 in the Saturday Cup Final thanks to an Aodhan Ferry goal while Letterkenny Rovers Youths won the Ulster Cup title with a 2-0 victory over Blaney Rovers from Monaghan at the Peacelink grounds in Clones. But here was no joy for the Donegal U13 Schoolboys side who lost 2-0 to the DDSL in the final of the Inter-League competition in Cahir, Tipperary. On the first day of May 15-year-old Ballyshannon girl Mona McSharry won five titles at the Swim Ireland National Championships in the 200m Breaststroke, 200m Individual Medley, 50m Freestyle, 100m Breaststroke and 50m Breaststroke. The Coaliste Colmcille student had already qualified for the European Senior Championships. For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to or visit us on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards.