President of Ireland presents Massachusetts president with Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award

Photo President of Ireland with Senator Murray 2

(President of Ireland Michael D, Higgins Presents Senator Murray with Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award)

It was a busy week in Donegal last week as Senator Therese Murray President of the Massachusetts Senate received the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

In a touching ceremony on Friday night last Murray looked at home as she received the prestigious Tip O’Neill award in the Inishowen Gateway hotel, Buncrana surrounded by friends and family from both home and away.

Senator Murray’s ties to Ireland go beyond her economic development efforts.  As Murray’s family tree stretches across the Island of Ireland with family names such as Harrold and Conners from Dublin tying her to our emerald green isle.

Murray proving herself a worthy recipient of the award has successfully strengthened the economic ties with the island of Ireland, particularly focusing on the Northwest.  Through her leadership and guidance, a number of research alliances have been formed between the University of Massachusetts system and Irish Universities. Additionally, Murray has led multiple trade missions and has hosted delegations which have led to business development opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.

“I am humbled and honored to be receiving the 3rd Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award,” said President Murray.  “Having the opportunity to further strengthen and create economic and academic links between Massachusetts and the Northwest of Ireland not only solidifies our historic ties, but also allows us to build a new bridge of cutting edge technology and innovation.  It is these new connections that will help spur discovery and development, provide inspiration and opportunity, and move Massachusetts and the Island of Ireland forward in this global economy.  Where there is opportunity there is hope and where there is hope there is peace.  Working together, we will achieve great things.”

Photo President of Ireland with Senator Murray

(Chief Executive of Donegal County Council Seamus Neely, pictured with Senator Therese Murray, President of Ireland Michael D,Higgins and Cathaoirleach Cllr John Campbell)

There is a strong Inishowen connection to Tip O’Neill, who was an American politician and speaker of the United States House of Representatives. His great-grandmother, Eunice Fullerton, hailed from Sledrin, outside Buncrana and his great grandfather James Tolan was born in Clonmany.

Tommy O Neill, son of the late Tip O’Neill commented on Senator Murray winning saying she was very deserving of the award.

“Senator Murray comes from a very similar background as the O’Neills and it’s great to see her recognised for her Irish links. She has done wonderful things for Massachusetts and Ireland in terms of making links with the Irish Diaspora.

“It’s a great achievement not only for her but for all Irish Americans, giving her this award was definitely the right thing to do.”

The Tip O’Neill award, a partnership initiative between Buncrana Town Council and Donegal County Council was created to establish and recognise achievements of members of the Diaspora in other countries and to celebrate the global impact of Irish people everywhere.

Michael Heaney, Director of Service at Donegal County Council said “This is an important event for Donegal. Not only does it honour one of the most esteemed members of our Diaspora in perpetuity, but also recognizes and celebrates the work of a current member of the present day Diaspora. The Donegal Diaspora Project is a key initiative of Donegal County Council and the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award will over the years continue to play a vital role in reaching out to broad Irish Diaspora throughout the world”.

The O’Neill family visited Inishowen for the ceremony. During their visit, they officially open the new Sliabh Sneacht Visitors’ Centre in Drumfries, Where a room at the centre was poignantly named the ‘Tip O’Neill Suite.’

Previous recipients of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award have been journalist and editor of the Irish Voice and Irish Central, Niall O’Dowd (2012) and Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana (2013).


Zinio – Never Miss an Edition of your Favorite Glossy Magazine Again!

Are you dying to get your fix of celebrity gossip or to find out what the latest investment strategies are in the Economist? But you just can’t face that dreaded walk to the shop to pick up your weekly edition or should we say addiction of magazine collections? Well now you don’t have to as Donegal County Council library service (earning their tickets through the pearly gates) have launched a new online magazine service that has something for everyone. And it’s FREE did we mention it was free?

Zinio Ciara compressed

Ciara Cunnane Branch Librarian explains how Zinio one of the world’s largest online magazine services, is now available free to all library members in Donegal.

“Zinio is one of the world’s largest online magazine services, now available free to all library members in Donegal. “Unlike other online magazine services available, Zinio is free to all library members and funded by Donegal County Council Library service.   This service offers the latest editions in full colour, with easy-to-use interactive digital technology for use on your Smartphone, tablet or laptop, and with no limit to the number of magazines you can download. Now if that’s not another great reason to sign up to your local library then I don’t know what is”, Laughed Ciara.

“It was decided to create an online magazine service so that our library users could access magazines from the comfort of their own home. It provides unlimited access and is available in libraries or remotely 24/7. A dedicated app is available to download and view magazines on your PC, Mac, Apple device, Android device and tablet.”

Erasing any skeptics from the equation who think it’s ‘too good to be true.’ Ciara says there are over 30 well known magazines available.

“There are 30 magazines available free via Zinio that range from lifestyle magazines such as Home & Gardens, Health & Fitness; various types of special interest publications such as Amateur Photographer and Your Family Tree to publications such as The Economist and Newsweek and of course Woman’s Own and Hello magazines just to keep us ladies happy,” laughed Ciara.

Ciara says the magazine service is already taking off with library members boasting the service as “brilliant”.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from library members who have used the service so far. Our most popular magazines since our official launch in May have been the likes of Woman’s Own, Hello!, Auto Express, Goodtoknow Recipes and National Geographic.

“A wide variety of library members use the service from people who want to flick through the latest edition of Cosmo to finding out the latest developments in technology in Webuser.  And to quote a recent user of the service –

As a car enthusiast I have always loved Auto Express, and to be able to get it free on my tablet is brilliant.

Zinio Picture

(Zinio Magazine service now available online for all library members)

The anticipation is killing me; clear up the one question we have left Ciara.  Where do we sign to avail of this incredible online magazine service?

“You have to be a member of your local library to take advantage of the online magazine service.  But if you are not a library member, it’s free to join your local library and free to borrow items.  Visit for more information.”

So what are you waiting for sign up to your local library today and never have to worry about missing out on all that juicy celebrity gossip again.

Donegal Sports Star August Review: Outstanding August for Donegal Sport

The month of August produced a number of magnificent individual and team successes for Donegal sport. Athletics, boxing, GAA, rugby, badminton, cycling and soccer all feature in the Donegal Sports Star August review. Many of this month’s high achievers will be challenging for awards when the 2014 winners are announced at the 39th Donegal Sports Star function which takes place at the end of January.

Mark English

Undoubtedly the biggest achiever was Mark English who became only the seventh Irish person ever to win a medal at a European Track & Field Championship. The reigning Donegal Sports Star Athletic Award holder ran a brilliant 800 metres final in Zurich to take the bronze medal and the UCD medical student just narrowly missed out on the silver.


 Another brilliant performer was Finn Valley BC’s Michael Gallagher who won a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in China. The 18-year-old who defeated a Korean opponent in the Heavyweight bout has built up an impressive record of success and appears set for a big senior career in the ring.


What a year it’s been for Ramelton man Kieran Murray who won three gold medals and a bronze at the European Transplant Games Finals in Poland. Kieran, a member of Milford A.C., only took up athletics at the beginning of 2014, won the 5k with a PB of 20.27. And he also took gold in the 1,500m and Golf Singles in Krakow. His bronze came in the 800m.

The 31st of August was an historic occasion for Donegal GAA as the county’s minor and senior teams played in All-Ireland semi-finals on the same day for the first time. And the two teams made amazing extra history by booking their places in the Minor and Senior All-Ireland Finals with stunning victories over the two Dublin teams.

Declan Bonner’s boys overcame the Dubs by just a point in the end 1-12 to 1-11 with Buncrana’s John Campbell getting the goal in the first half. A remarkable recovery before half-time saw Donegal take a one point lead with the help of a Ryan McHugh goal.

Another McHugh goal shortly after restart stunned the Dubs and when Colm Anthony McFadden found the net in the 46th minute there was really only going to be one winner as a seven point gap had been opened up. Ryan McHugh got the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his 2-2 contribution to the win and he followed that up by being named the ‘Player of the Week’. It was the second time that the Kilcar player won the award this summer after also topping the poll following the Ulster Final victory over Monaghan.


In the middle of the month there was huge disappointment for previous Donegal Sports Star Award winners Nora Stapleton and Larissa Muldoon as the Irish Women’s Senior Rugby team were beaten 40-7 by England in the World Cup semi-final in Paris. The Irish ended up fourth after losing to hosts France in the 3rd/4th place play-off. Both Stapleton and Muldoon had featured in a memorable group run that included wins over the USA, one of the tournament favourites New Zealand and Kazakhstan.

Chloe and Sam Magee just missed out on gold at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the Mixed Doubles. The Raphoe siblings had led 2-0 and were at match point in the third set when the final turned in favour of the number one seeds from Germany. The Germans eventually winning 3-2. Sam and his brother Joshua had won bronze in the Men’s Doubles at the Brazilian tournament.

Chloe lost in the first round of the World Championships in Copenhagen to a Hong Kong opponent 15-21, 15-21. In the mixed doubles Chloe and her brother Sam lost to Chinese Taipie opposition 22-23, 17-21.

Carndonagh man Garret Doherty won three gold medals at the retro running World Championships in Italy. Retro, running backwards, saw Garret come first in the 200m, 400m and1500m.

Talented Letterkenny girl Christine Russell was 11th at a European Junior Triathlon in Nottingham. Her time of 1:03:14 was almost seven minutes faster than her previous in Omagh where the 16-year-old was third female home.

Other international sporting highlights included Philip Deignan, a previous Donegal Sports Star Cycling Award winner who finished seventh overall in the Tour of Poland and Jason Quigley who won his second professional boxing fight in California with the bout being stopped at the end of the third round when his Mexican opponent’s corner team ‘threw in the towel’.

At the end of the month Declan and Brian Boyle’s win at the Galway Summer Rally kept the Donegal crew in the frame to retain the Dunlop National Championship. Lagan Harps booked their place in the Women’s FAI National Cup Final with a 6-2 win over Ballyfermot FC in Manor thanks to Amber Barrett and Lauren Harper who both scored twice while there were one each for Nikita Burke and Sadbhla Medlar.

At the beginning of August Greg Roberts from the City of Derry Club won the Danny McDaid 15k in a time of 48 minutes and 31 seconds while on the international stage Milford’s Brendan Boyce finished 16th in the 50k Race Walk at the European Track & Field Championship in Zurich recording a new personal best time.

Inishowen AC’s Benny Mullan was first home in the Donegal Marathon the first to be held in the county in 31 years. The Moville man’s winning time was 2:56:49 while second and third were two Letterkenny runners Philip Rainey (3:01:39) and Kevin Wallace (3:02:24).

First woman home was Joleen Mellon of North East AC clocking 3:31:22 for the 26.2 miles. And the first two across the finish line in the Half Marathon were Letterkenny men with Michael Black the winner clocking 1:17:08.6 while the runner-up was Gary Crossan (1:18:48.9) and third was Noel Diver of Rosses AC (1:20:35.8). Maria McCambridge was the winner of the Women’s Half Marathon in a time of 1:24:12. The runner-up was Roisin Ni Dhuibhir who was 37th overall clocking 1:33:00.4 and third was Letterkenny AC’s Noreen McGettigan who had a finishing time of 1:37:41.5 for the 13 miles which saw her come in 57th.

There was gold for Finn Valley AC members James Kelly and Aaron McGlynn in the Shot Putt and 800m respectively at the British Track & Field Championships in Bedford. In badminton after winning her first round game Raphoe’s Rachael Darragh was beaten in the last 16 of the Slovakian Open by the Number 3 seed from Poland. Darragh is a niece of Chloe Magee. In the last 16 of the Women’s Doubles’ Darragh and her partner Sara Boyle were defeated by a pair from Belgium.

Errigal Cycling Club’s P.J. Doogan was busy boy in August first spending a week with the Irish FBD Talent Team in competition in Holland and Belgium. He followed that up by winning a bronze medal at the Community Games Finals in Tullamore. ECC’s Ben Carr and Odhran Doogan both won silver at the Games.

Errigal CCs Amanda Gallagher, Ciara Doogan and Conor Halvey were members of the Ulster team that won the Inter Provincial Track Championships in Dublin. And there was also plenty of success for ECC at the All-Ireland Youth Championships in Ballymoney with Odhran Doogan taking gold in the U-11 Boys.

Errigal also took the overall U-12 team award while Cora Harkin was bronze medalist in the U-12 criterium. Errigal also took the overall team award at Boys U-14 which included Joe P.J. Doogan, Conor Halvey, Ronan McCann, Michael McGlynn, Ben Carr and Adam Harkin. There was a gold and a silver medal for Shauna McFadden in the U-15 Girls while Ciara Doogan took three golds in the U-16 Girls. And there was a first ever medal at the championship for Donegal Bay CC with bronze going to Oisin Doherty in the U-13 road race.

On the August Bank Holiday Monday the Donegal Senior Ladies GAA side made their exit from the All-Ireland Football Championship at the second round qualifier stage losing 1-22 to 2-14 against Kerry after extra-time in Tullamore despite a stirring performance. But there was a good day for the Donegal U-17 Boys who won the Jim McGuigan Cup with a big win over Tyrone in the final at the Watty Grahams Ground in Glen, Co. Derry.

Across the water there was club championship success in London for a number of Donegal players with ex-Letterkenny Gaels player Aaron Bradley being the only footballer from the county on the Tirconaill Gaels side that won the senior title.

At Intermediate level former St. Eunan’s trio Ciaran Greene, Niall McClafferty and Dualtach Molloy were members of the North London Shamrocks side that won the London Intermediate Final. It was the club’s first title since being formed ten years ago. Meanwhile there were London Junior Championship medals for Milford man Paul Shiels and ex-Downings players Shea Coyle, Aaron McClafferty, Danny McBride, Gary ‘Ban’ McClafferty and James McBride who helped Moindearg to a one point win over Thomas McCurtains in the decider at Ruislip.

Joseph Duffy marked his return to the Mixed Martial Arts with a third round win at the Cage Warriors Championship in Dublin. The 26-year-old Welsh man whose parents are both Donegal natives had been in professional boxing for the previous two years. On the same night at the Helix, Letterkenny’s Tommy McCafferty, a former Donegal Sports Star Award winner won his bout by way a TKO over Daniel Reilly.

On the motorbike16-year-old Kilmacrennan boy Caolan Irwin was a winner and runner-up in two Newcomers Moto 3 Championship races at Kirkistown. He was also third in the National Moto 3 Championships. From there Caolan over the next two days took part for the first time in the British Superteen Championships in Wales where he was 11th in his first race and fifth in another race.

In soccer on the first day in August Dale Gorman helped the Northern Ireland U-20 side to win the Milk Cup in Colraine after a 1-0 victory over Canada in their final game. Three days later the Letterkenny lad scored his first goal for the Stevenage senior team in a pre-season 1-1 away friendly against St. Albans.

On the last Friday in August Finn Harps slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Shamrock B in Ballybofey ending an 11 match on unbeaten run for Ollie Horgan’s side and effectively ending any lingering hopes of getting into the promotion play-off spot. The week before Horgan’s side had booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FAI Senior Cup with a fine 2-1 away win over Wexford Youths thanks to goals from Tommy McMonagle and sub Mickey Funston. Harps have been drawn away to top non-league side Avondale Utd of Cork in the last eight of the competition.

It was a good month for Cockhill Celtic who clinched back-to-back Ulster Senior League titles after twice coming from behind to defeat Letterkenny Rovers at Leckview Park. Donal O’Brien’s side completed the double ‘double’ by defeating Swilly Rovers 1-0 in the Donegal News Cup Final thanks to a Garbhan Friel goal at Leckview Park. Cockhill had previously done the same double last season.

There was success for Donegal underage soccer teams at the Galway Cup. The Donegal U-15s won the main section with a 1-0 over Cavan/Monaghan while in the same age group Finn Harps took the honours in the Plate competition and the County U-13s finished up third in the Elite phase after a 1-0 win over Kerry in Salthill.

Ramelton native Conrad Logan made his debut for League 1 side Rochdale, a 5-2 away win over Crew Alexander, after a loan move from Premiership outfit Leicester City. Staying with the Premiership Seamus Coleman got Everton’s first goal in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Goodison Park.

Illies Celtic won the Inishowen Ladies League Cup Final for the first time defeating defending champions Greencastle FC 2-0 in the final at Maginn Park. But Greencastle did have something to cheer about as their U-14s won the Inishowen Cup.

Cappry Rovers Sean McBride was a member of the Republic of Ireland U16 Select that played in the Mayo International Cup, which included games against Chesterfield, Glentoran, Northern Ireland and Milwall. Another Ramelton man Kyle Callan McFadden, a previous Donegal Sports Star Soccer Award winner made his competitive debut for Norwich City in a 3-1 Capital 1 Cup victory over Crawley Town at Carrow Road

In Triathlon Letterkenny 24/7s Aidan Callaghan, the 2012 Donegal Sports Star Award category winner, continued his fine form by winning the Lough Sprint in Omagh, which also secured the Ulster Championship for the Hawthorn Heights man. Gartan native Siobhan Gallagher was the second woman finisher in Omagh. Callaghan was also third in the Dublin City Olympic Triathlon.


For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to our website or visit us on Facebook at Donegalsports Starawards.