Bartley says farewell to Donegal County Council

Bartley McGlynn who retired last week after almost 42 years of service

Bartley McGlynn who retired last week after almost 42 years of service

There were many words of thanks and congratulations for well known Stranorlar man Bartley McGlynn originally from Glenfin on Friday last as he marked his retirement from Donegal County Council after almost 42 years of service.  With so many memories and years of experience we were delighted when Bartley took time out to talk to us about his time in the Council, his most memorable moments, the changes he has seen and most importantly his plans for the future.

“I started working in Donegal County Council on October 1, 1973 and my first job was, believe it or not, ‘water charges’.  At that time the domestic water charge was £1.50 per year and all the bills were handwritten. We were based in the Council Chamber in a section known as the Rates Office. It was a busy office, we worked hard but we also had great fun,” says Bartley.

“I then moved to Motor Tax soon after, again another busy office.  There were a lot of deadlines and I enjoyed the fact that I was dealing with the public.  We had a great team in Motor Tax and many of us were new to the Council.  Ten people were appointed of the panel when I joined the Council and we all became great friends.

“In the early years we had an hour and 15 minutes for lunch each day so that meant we had time for many recreational activities such as soccer, snooker, pool or cards. Many of the Council staff lived in Lifford and Strabane at this time and it meant that there was great camaraderie among staff and we had a great social scene.

Bartley with colleagues Brian Boyle, Head of Information Systems and Garry Martin, Director of Finance & Emergency Services

Bartley with colleagues Brian Boyle, Head of Information Systems and Garry Martin, Director of Finance & Emergency Services

 

“I worked in a range of Council services from Housing to Sanitary Services to Planning and I acted as Town Clerk in both Bundoran and Buncrana Town Councils.     I joined the Finance Section in July 1986 and have worked in all areas of Finance and in 2001 I became the Senior Executive Officer and I acted as Head of Finance for the 2010 budget.  I have worked with six County Managers, now called Chief Executives, and 7 Finance Officers or Heads of Finance,” he said.

Bartley has seen many changes in the Council from the decentralisation of Council services to changes in the Council’s accounting system to advancements in technology, the abolition of Town Councils and to the recent introduction of Irish Water.

“Decentralisation of Council services in 2001 was a massive change for the Council. Many staff moved to work in area offices and whilst people continued to work together the dynamic changed in that you didn’t get a chance to meet them everyday in the building.

“Changing from a cash accounting system to an accrual accounting system was also a massive shift. This was introduced in 2001 and meant that I had to start learning all over again.

“The changes that have been brought about by computers and technology have also been significant.  When I started out letters were typed on a typewriter but now everything is done on email or online yet it doesn’t seem to mean less paper!

“The abolition of the Town Councils and the introduction of Irish Water were also substantial changes especially from a finance perspective.  The behind the scenes work was colossal and it was a big ask for the staff in my service but as always they worked tirelessly to get the job done.”

Bartley with staff from Finance Section

Bartley with staff from Finance Section

When asked to recall his most memorable moments, Bartley has no hesitation in telling us about the day the full driving licences were being awarded and his pride and joy in seeing Donegal won the Inter Local Authorities league.

“When I look back over the years there have been a number of memorable moments. The first is the awarding of full driving licences to holders of second provisional licences.  I was acting Assistant Staff Officer in Motor Tax at the time and the first I heard about it was on the radio in the morning.  I came into work and there was a queue up to the Garda Barracks in Lifford.  We didn’t get closing all day and we had to call in staff from all over the Council to try and deal with the queues.  It was mayhem.  There was also a backlog of post to deal with but we got through it and people got their driving licences so everyone was happy.

“Most people who know me know that I am very passionate about sport and especially about soccer and one of my other most memorable moments was when we set up the HAC football team in Lifford.  At that time the North Western Health Board, the Department of Agriculture and the Council were all based in Lifford and we had enough players to make up a team to compete in local leagues.  We had great fun, made great friends and won (and lost) a few games along the way!

“I also played for the Councils mens’ team and managed the ladies team for a few years.  We competed in the Inter Local Authority league in the 1980s.  In 1984 we won the league but the women did better than that – they won it five times in a row.  Teresa Conway played for the ladies team and I can easily say that Teresa was one of the best women soccer players in the country.  I can’t say strongly enough how important this league was to us especially when our teams were playing in the finals.  The sense of camaraderie, the craic and the banter all led to a great working environment.  No matter how far you had to travel for a match we were all still at work the next morning at 9 o’clock.

 

Bartley McGlynn with the ladies of the 1985 Donegal County County Ladies Football team marking his retirement last week

Bartley McGlynn with the ladies of the 1985 Donegal County County Ladies Football team marking his retirement last week

“The last number of years have been difficult for everyone and, as Senior Executive Officer in the Council’s Finance Section, navigating the organisations financial position has certainly been a challenge.

“For me the greatest challenge has been assisting with the management of the Council’s financial position, this is a hands on job and something that has to be monitored on a daily basis.  I have also experienced two staff moratoriums and they have been tough.  I have seen first hand the pressure that is put on the staff that is left.”

When asked what advice he would give to someone starting out today, Bartley very clearly believes it is all about respect.

“I would simply say that respect is most important, respect for colleagues at work and the general public who we serve.  It is also important to have respect for the elected members who have been put there to represent the public and I have the greatest regard for the work they do”.

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan presenting Bartley with a Celtic Jersey on behalf of the elected members of Donegal County Council

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan presenting Bartley with a Celtic Jersey on behalf of the elected members of Donegal County Council

“As a public service we are open to a lot of scrutiny much more so than if we were in the private sector and my advice is do your job well and do it honestly and you will never go far wrong.”

After almost 42 years working with the Council Bartley is looking forward to quality family time.

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family. In the last 20 years myself and Celine have spent a lot of time at work and we both want to spend more time together and with the family.  I have three daughters Nuala is in Singapore, Sarah is in Dublin and Maeve is in London and we hope to do a bit more travel, visiting the girls and I am especially looking forward to Nuala’s wedding later this year”.

Celine_0588

“I am also looking forward to having more time to spend on the Twin Towns Celtic Supporters Club, the Donegal Sports Star Awards Committee and I am on the board of the Finn Valley Swimming Pool and LATCH.

In concluding his interview Bartley was keen to mention three things.

“Before I finish up I want to mention a few things.  Firstly, Lifford – I have spent all of my working life in Lifford and when I first came to Lifford it was a wonderful, vibrant town.  It had the Army Barracks, the Customs, two factories, the NWHB, the Department of Agriculture, Land Registry, the Inter Counties Hotel, the Dog Track, not to mention all the sporting clubs and facilities. Lifford is still very much a sporting town and I would like to think that we played a small part in this legacy.

“Secondly the elected members – I have had the pleasure of working with many elected members over the years.  I have the greatest respect and regard for the work they do and I would like to think that I have had a good working relationship with all of them.

“Finally the staff – we have the best staff in Donegal County Council and many are good friends as well as work colleagues particularly the finance staff.  Much of the work that is done in finance is behind the scene and often goes unnoticed.  But this work is always done with great care and diligence and always with the citizen in mind”.

Bartley’s concluding remark says it all:

“I hope I have served the people of Donegal well over the years …”

 

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive presenting Bartley with a gift to mark his retirement from Donegal County Council

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive presenting Bartley with a gift to mark his retirement from Donegal County Council

 

Finn Harps Captain Kevin McHugh presenting Bartley with a Finn Harps Jersey to mark his retirement

Finn Harps Captain Kevin McHugh presenting Bartley with a Finn Harps Jersey to mark his retirement

 

Bartley with colleague Miriam Bonner

Bartley with colleague Miriam Bonner

 

Sean Dunnion Chair of Donegal GAA County Board and colleague presenting Bartley with a Donegal GAA jersey

Sean Dunnion Chair of Donegal GAA County Board and colleague presenting Bartley with a Donegal GAA jersey

 

Bartley with colleagues Patrick McLaughlin and Liam Ward

Bartley with colleagues Patrick McLaughlin and Liam Ward

 

 

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A new Cathaoirleach for Donegal County Council

Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, the newly elected Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council at the official opening of Malin Head Tourism Project

Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, the newly elected Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council at the official opening of Malin Head Tourism Project

Donegal County Council has a new Cathaoirleach. Letterkenny man Cllr Ciaran Brogan took over the post last week from the outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr John Campbell.

Cllr Brogan is no stranger to office as he’s been Mayor in Letterkenny twice and has presided over various committees and groupings during his busy political life to date.

Ciaran charts the start of his political career back to his family roots and in particular his father Phil’s role as a union representative within the ESB. Both Phil and Ciaran’s mother, Mary, were in Lifford last week along with dozens of his closest supporters for his elevation to the position of the county’s first citizen

He recalls his father’s influence on him.

“He was always concerned about issues and people’s welfare so it was a natural step for me to do the same. I am very luck to have a good strong team behind me. When I decided to first run for office I also felt the people I represented needed a voice.”

Ciaran makes no secret of the fact he has enjoyed being a public representative since his first election to the then Letterkenny Urban Council in 1999. He was subsequently re-elected to it and to the County Council in 2004, 2009 and again last year. He is delighted with the faith his colleagues on the council have put in him to now select him as its Cathaoirleach.

“That means a lot to me,” he says.

He knows he has a busy year ahead as the first citizen and is confident that the biggest asset Donegal has is its people.

“We have a great county. Our people are our biggest asset and we need to be positive. We have to continue to make economic development and tourism our priority as a Council as it has been over the last number of years. We need to continue to put money in that direction,” he said.

He also knows he will have a busy time over the next 12 months but enjoys working for the benefit of the county.

“I don’t consider it work; after all it’s all about Donegal isn’t it.”

Cllr Brogan believes Donegal has huge potential with all the natural assets it has such as Malin Head, Sliabh  Liag, Fanad Lighthouse; all the links golf courses as well as the many hard working individuals and committees all working to make this a better place.

“I want everybody in every town to be positive about Donegal and I think we can achieve a lot if we all work together.

The new Cathaoirleach knows it will also be a busy time for his wife Lorraine and children Oran (9) and Maoliosa (6) but points out they are an important part of his team too.

Cllr Sean McEniff, newly elected Leas Cathaoirleach congratulating Cllr Ciaran Brogan on his new appointment as Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council

Cllr Sean McEniff, newly elected Leas Cathaoirleach congratulating Cllr Ciaran Brogan on his new appointment as Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council

Key Points

  • Ciaran Brogan is a member of the Fianna Fail party
  • He has been the Fianna Fail whip on Donegal County Council for a number of years.
  • Donegal County Council has 37 elected members and each member is elected to one of five Municipal Districts.
  • The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council is elected each year at the Councils AGM.
  • The Cathaoirleach is considered to be the first citizen of the county.

Making sure your reception is a very civic one!

Kathleen Brown, Staff Officer, Donegal County Council

Kathleen Brown, Staff Officer, Donegal County Council

Donegal County Council recently hosted three Civic Receptions but why did this happen, what is a civic reception and how are they put together?

The power to do this derives from the Local Government Act 2001.

Staff Officer in Corporate Services, Kathleen Browne has been involved in hosting the Councils Civic Receptions and as well as enjoying the occasions, she is all too aware of the importance of the occasion, for both the individual and the Council.

“Organising these events is the most enjoyable aspect of my job and they have presented me with some unusual challenges – figuring out how to fit a baby grand piano into the back of the Council Chamber remains one of the greatest achievements in my very long career with Donegal County Council,” she laughed.

She explains how a reception comes about.

“The procedure for a Civic Reception is that a councillor proposes the group or individual they wish to have honoured and the category of award they wish them to receive. This is then considered by the Corporate Policy Group and ratified at a Council meeting by all the members.

“I do everything I can to accommodate the recipients of the Civic Receptions or Freedom of the County Award because this is such a special honour for them and it is their ‘special day’,” she said.

She adds that all of these receptions are memorable days for the recipients and everyone who has received the honour is both honoured and thankful for the recognition they are receiving.

“For me, these have been the most special moments of these events.  Many memorable wise words, hilarious stories and tearful reminiscences have graced the council chamber at these times. I’ve been lucky enough to witness them and even get to listen to a song or two!

“It is the modesty and humanity of all the recipients that has endured with me and every one of them are a wonderful example to all of us of how persistence, endurance and the nurturing of talent can overcome every obstacle and ultimately lead to success.”

She adds that these receptions are rarely just about the individual; they are a tribute to their family, friends and community.

“Every recipient has acknowledged the support from family, friends and the people of their local area, whose influence and guidance started them on the path to the pinnacle of their chosen profession.

“In these difficult times for the people of this county, it is so important to be able to recognise our brightest and best sons and daughters and to garner hope for our future from our pride in their successes,” she said.

Termon Ladies enjoying their recent Civic Reception to mark their outstanding sporting achievements

Termon Ladies enjoying their recent Civic Reception to mark their outstanding sporting achievements

 

Key Facts:

There are different three Award Categories.

  • Category 1: Freedom of the County is the highest honour a local authority can confer and is only conferred in exceptional circumstances.
  • Category 2: Civic Reception by the Full Council is a major honour and is awarded to groups or individuals who have achieved success nationally or internationally
  • Category 3: Local Civic Reception by a Municipal Authority is hosted for groups or individuals who local members wish to recognise for effort or achievement
  • Donegal County Council has awarded six Freedom of the County Awards since 2001:Shay Given, Packie Bonner, Phil Coulter, 28th Battalion, Daniel O Donnell and Patsy McGonagle.
  • Recipients are presented with a scroll and a specially commissioned award and their names are entered onto the roll of persons so honoured for the county.

 

 

 

Donegal’s Archives have a ‘pack’ of information for you!

Niamh Brennan, County Archivist with Donegal County Council

Niamh Brennan, County Archivist with Donegal County Council

Donegal County Council’s Archives Service’s reputation for high quality themed study packs for students and teachers has grown since the service published its first pack, in 2006.

“The use of original archival material in the study of history enables students to learn the concept and significance of written evidence and can assist in developing a broad range of investigative and interpretive skills in students,” says County Archivist, Niamh Brennan.

The service also produces a range of excellent information packs for different sectors such as the Primary Schools Facsimile Pack, the Flight of the Earls and Ulster Plantation Packs and a new pack currently in preparation dealing with the Decade of Centenaries in Donegal.

 

Primary Schools Facsimile Pack

The Primary Schools’ History Curriculum requires use of primary sources by students, laying emphasis on the need for the child to ‘work as an historian’.

The Primary Schools Facsimile Pack was introduced with the goal of increasing knowledge of the importance of local archives in the study of local history, from a young age.

“The research facilities available in the Archives Service can only accommodate up to eight people at a time, therefore by producing high quality facsimiles of original archival material, archives can be introduced to young students in an alternative way and in a manner that causes no threat to the preservation of the documents. Themes in the pack are taken from the primary school curriculum and include: Homes and My Locality, Schools and Life in the Nineteenth Century,” she said.

 

Flight of the Earls and Ulster Plantation Packs

Flight of the Earls Education Pack

Flight of the Earls Education Pack

In 2007 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, the Archives Service produced a Document Study Pack for second level schools.

“The pack contains a selection of facsimiles of 16th and 17th century documents covering the events leading up to and following the Flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tír Chonaill. It also contains a short history of the Flight, as well as worksheets”.

“The Ulster Plantation Study pack is aimed at second level schools, and provides an introduction to this crucial period in Irish history, including the major events surrounding the Plantation up to the arrival of Oliver Cromwell in Ireland in 1649. The pack includes facsimiles of original documents and related questions for students.”

 

The Decade of Centenaries in Donegal 1912 – 1923

Niamh and her team are currently working on their latest project.

“Donegal County Archives has begun its commemoration of what is known as the revolutionary period in recent Irish history by producing a document study pack aimed at second level schools. Entitled A Decade of Change: Donegal and Ireland, 1912 – 1923 the pack includes an illustrated booklet documenting the history of this period in Ireland from the introduction of home rule to the Civil War, focusing on Donegal in particular.

Niamh also revealed that the Archives Service, Heritage Office, County Museum and Library Service are currently working on a study pack for students and teachers on the subject of Donegal in 1916.

 

Key Facts

  • The Donegal County Archives is located at the Three Rivers Centre, Lifford, Co. Donegal
  • You can make an appointment to view collections by calling (074) 91 53900 or e-mail: info@donegalcoco.ie
  • The Donegal County Archive holds the collections of Donegal’s local public bodies and also collections donated by private individuals and organisations which relate to the history and culture of the county.
  • Packs are available from the Archives Service, except for the Primary School Facsimile Pack which is available at donegalcoco.ie

 

New Tourism Project Launched at Malin Head

Official launch of Malin Head project

Official launch of Malin Head project

The Malin Head Marine Tourism project was formally opened by Cathaoirleach Cllr Ciaran Brogan yesterday Tuesday, June 16. This project is one of several Loughs Agency marine tourism and angling development projects funded through a €4 million programme of investment derived from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

 

The project works include the building of passing places along the narrow roads leading to the headland. Cliff top trails and a viewing area with telescopes to allow the visitor to safely enjoy the fabulous views across to Inishtrahull Island and the Scottish isles beyond. Overlooking the stunning coastline, information panels inform visitors of trail conditions and the wildlife they may see, as well as interpreting the landscape and seascape.

Seamus Neely Chief Executive addressing the launch

Seamus Neely Chief Executive addressing the launch

 

Speaking at the event, Donegal County Council Chief Executive Seamus Neely reiterated Donegal County Councils commitment to developing signature destination points along the Wild Atlantic Way, stating that “the Malin Head project is an addition to the strategic tourism development being carried out at Sliabh Liag and Fanad Lighthouse and places the county in a strong position to benefit from the aggressive international marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way”.

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan speaking at the official launch

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan speaking at the official launch

Newly elected Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Ciaran Brogan, believes the partnership model of cooperation is key to the development of this and other tourism products in the county.

 

“We know from past experience that these projects need the buy in of all stakeholders, be they statutory agencies, the local authority, community group or private business. This project should serve as a model for other groups looking to build on the critical mass of tourism product in their locality”.

Cllr Rena Donaghey speaking at the launch of the Malin Marine Tourism project

Cllr Rena Donaghey speaking at the launch of the Malin Marine Tourism project

This point was supported by Inishowen Municipal District Cathaoirleach, Cllr Rena Donaghey who also believes “that the community must be involved at all levels in terms of both developing and rolling out the actions on the ground”.

Cathal O hOisin MLA speaking at the launch

Cathal O hOisin MLA speaking at the launch

Mr Cathal Ó hOisín, MLA, a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, represented the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill MLA, at the official opening event.

 

On behalf of Minister O’Neill, he paid tribute to the project partners, the Loughs Agency and Donegal County Council, on the effective cross border cooperation on this and other projects. The Loughs Agency is co-sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR).

Minister of State Joe McHugh TD speaking at the launch

Minister of State Joe McHugh TD speaking at the launch

Attending the opening, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Joe McHugh TD also referred to the Wild Atlantic Way.

 

“Under the banner of the Wild Atlantic Way, Malin Head will benefit from a now internationally recognised brand which has been a resounding success for tourism on the western seaboard”.

 

He went on to say how, in his role as a Sponsoring Minister for the Loughs Agency on the North South Ministerial Council, he knew of “the success the Agency has had in recent years in securing some €15M in EU funding for investment in local amenities with real community dividend and for key research to underpin its core functions”.

Phil Mahon, Loughs Agency addressing the official launch of the Malin Head Marine Tourism Project

Phil Mahon, Loughs Agency addressing the official launch of the Malin Head Marine Tourism Project

Phil Mahon, Loughs Agency board member, expressed the Loughs Agency’s pride in the Malin Head project and explained how it was an “excellent example of EU funding being invested in infrastructure that will grow local and regional tourism”.

 

She went on to state that “the generous support of landowners has been key to the success of the Malin Head project – from the owners of property who permitted the construction of passing places to the farmers who allowed development of foot paths across their land”.

 

The Malin Head project is one of several Loughs Agency marine tourism and angling development projects funded through a €4 million programme of investment derived from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

 

The opening of the new facilities at Malin Head will enhance the visitor experience and boost tourism in the area, creating long-term benefits for the local community.

Andrew Sides Loughs Agency speaking at launch of Malin Head Marine Tourism project

Andrew Sides Loughs Agency speaking at launch of Malin Head Marine Tourism project

 

Speakers and special guests attending launch of Malin Head Marine Tourism project

Speakers and special guests attending launch of Malin Head Marine Tourism project

 

Local community representatives with Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, Pat Mahon Loughs Agency and Minister of State Joe McHugh at launch of Malin Head Project

Local community representatives with Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, Pat Mahon Loughs Agency and Minister of State Joe McHugh at launch of Malin Head Project

 

Members of Inishowen Municipal District with guests at the launch of the Malin Head Project

Members of Inishowen Municipal District with guests at the launch of the Malin Head Project

 

Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, Cathaoirleach arriving at Malin Head for launch

Cllr. Ciaran Brogan, Cathaoirleach arriving at Malin Head for launch

 

Official Launch of the Malin Head Marine Tourism project

Official Launch of the Malin Head Marine Tourism project

 

View of Malin Head, Irelands most northern point

View of Malin Head, Irelands most northern point

 

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan with Cllr Rena Donaghey and Seamus Neely Chief Executive

Cathaoirleach Cllr. Ciaran Brogan with Cllr Rena Donaghey and Seamus Neely Chief Executive

Cllr. Padraig MacLochlann checking out the telescopes at Malin Head

Cllr. Padraig MacLochlann checking out the telescopes at Malin Head

 

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Ciaran Brogan at Malin Head

Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Ciaran Brogan at Malin Head

 

Seamus Neely, Chief Exeutive checking out the views through the telescope at Malin Head

Seamus Neely, Chief Exeutive checking out the views through the telescope at Malin Head

 

Cllr. Rena Donaghey testing the telescope at Malin Head while Cllr. Martin McDermott and Charlie McConalogue TD look on

Cllr. Rena Donaghey testing the telescope at Malin Head while Cllr. Martin McDermott and Charlie McConalogue TD look on

Official opening of Malin Head Marine Tourism Project

Official opening of Malin Head Marine Tourism Project

 

Visitors to Malin Head enyoying the beautiful seascape

Visitors to Malin Head enyoying the beautiful seascape

 

Malin Head

Malin Head

 

Donegal Sports Star May Review

Marvellous May for Donegal Athletics

 

by Declan Kerr

Donegal Sport Star Medal

The Donegal Sports Star May review highlights a marvellous month for athletics while the county also had fantastic achievements in soccer, cycling, motorsport and badminton. In Track & Field Mark English, Karl Griffin, Aaron McGlynn and John Kelly dipped inside the qualifying standards for this summer’s World and European Championship events. Cyclists Shauna McFadden and Amanda Gallagher were named on the Irish team for the Youth Olympics while in soccer there was double success for Inishowen winning the prestigious Oscar Traynor Cup for the first time and the peninsula’s U15s lifted the national inter-league title.

Among the other May highlights were the another first place finish for Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan in the Munster Rally; success for Laghey’s Heather Harron in the Irish Masters Badminton Final; the role played by Isle of Doagh’s Stephen McLaughlin in Southend Utd’s promotion from English League Two and the national title for Kevin McHugh’s Donegal U13s. European Indoor 800m silver medalist Mark English achieved the qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships in his first race of the outdoor season. The reigning Overall Donegal Sports Star Award holder was competing in the FBK Games in Hengelo where he ran a time of 1.45.83 to dip inside the required standard of 1.46.00 for the World Track and Field Championships which take place in Beijing from the 22nd-30th of August.

Donegal Town man Karl Griffin ran 1:47:39 in an 800m race to confirm his place at both the European U23 Championship and World Student Games. And 15 year-old Aaron Mc Glynn of Finn Valley ran 1.54.54 in Belfast to qualify for the European Youth Olympics in Georgia. Aaron has made the standard in both the 800m and 400m for the event. Another former Donegal Sports Star Awards winner John Kelly set a new Irish record with his 18.61m throw at the Donegal Athletics Championships in Lifford, which also gave him the qualification standard for the European Junior Finals. And the former Donegal Sports Star Award winner followed that up by throwing 19.95m in Letterkenny to meet the qualifying standard for the European U23 Championships in Sweden.

As May drew to a close Letterkenny’s Shauna McFadden and Dunlewey’s Amanda Gallagher were selected on the Irish cycling team which will compete at the European Youth Olympics in Tbilisi, Georgia while Heather Harron from Laghey won the Irish Masters O-50s Doubles Championships with her partner Imelda Breen (Meath) at Baldoyle, Dublin.

Sunday 24th May 2015 was an historic occasion for Inishowen soccer as for the first time in it’s 40 year history the Junior League won the Oscar Traynor Cup with a 2-1 victory over Limerick at Maginn Park courtesy of first half goals from Stephen McLaughlin and Kieran McDaid. Indeed there was double success for the peninsula as the previous day the Inishowen Youth & Schoolboys League took the U15 Inter-League title with a 2-1 win over Longford and District in Cahir, Co. Tipperary.  Finn Harps player Kevin McHugh managed the Donegal Schoolboys U-13 side to a national Inter-League Cup triumph with a 1-0 victory over Waterford in Cahir, Tipperary.

Isle of Doagh native Stephen McLaughlin was a member of the Southend Utd who gained promotion from English League Two thanks to a penalty shoot-out win over Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley. The former Finn Harps and Derry City player had come off the bench to score an extra-time winner for Southend against Stevenage FC in a play-off to get to Wembley.

At the end of May Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan in their Ford Focus WRC won the Circuit of Munster Rally. It was a fourth win in a row in the National series for the crew who extended their lead at the top of the standings.

At the beginning of May, Kilmacrennan man Eoghain McGinley won the North West 10k in a time of 33 minutes and seven seconds while Letterkenny AC’s Brendan Boyce finished 27th in the European 20km Race Walk in Murcia, Spain in a time of 1:26:27 and on the last day of the month Carndonagh man Karol Doherty was the first wheelchair athlete home in the Derry City Marathon in a time of 3.04.48 breaking the course record in the process. Three Rivers won the Donegal Men’s Division 3 and 4 badminton titles in Castlefin. At the same venue the Division 2 honours went to Dunfanaghy.

P.J. McBrearty and Padraig McGettigan from the Letterkenny Blaze Basketball Club played for the Northern Ireland Elite Academy who had three wins over Wales at the Methodist College. In boxing John Moran from the Illies Golden Gloves Club took an Irish title in the Youth 1 42kgs at the National Stadium. And fellow Inishowen lad Edward McEleney won the Youth 1 91kgs Final. Also in the ring Leah Gallen, a member of the Finn Valley Club won the Girl 2 46kgs at the National Championships and in the middle of the month Carndonagh ABC’s Labhaoise Clarke won her sixth Irish title in the Youth 1 54kgs.

On the May Bank Holiday Monday there was County Gaeltacht glory for Naomh Conaill and Na Dunaibh in their respective Senior and Junior Finals in Ardara while Glenfin won the ladies title. Despite finishing top of the Division 2 table the Donegal senior ladies side missed out on promotion after losing 4-18 to 4-6 to Armagh in the league final at Parnell Park, Dublin. Both the Donegal Seniors and Minors advanced to the quarter-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship following respective wins over Tyrone at McCumhaill Park. In his first championship match in charge Rory Gallagher’s side had a 1-13 to 1-10 victory over the Red Hand County. Meanwhile, Declan Bonner’s Minors had a 1-11 to 0-8 win over their opponents. And on the last day of the month the County Minors booked their place in the Ulster semi-final for the second successive year with a 2-14 to 0-7 win over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds with the goals coming from the O Baoill cousins Naoise and Daire.

Five Donegal players Geraldine McLaughlin and Laura Gallagher Termon; Ciara and Niamh Hegarty Moville and Aoife McDonnell (Glenties)  were members of the Ulster squad who retained the Inter-provincial title in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. Gallagher and Donegal Sports Star Award winner McLaughlin were also members of the Termon Ladies side who won the All-Ireland Gaeltacht Senior Final for the sixth successive year with a 3-12 to 2-5 victory over Glenfin in Ardara. Naomh Conaill won the County U16 League Final defeating Muff at the O’Donnell Park while Naomh Columba were crowned Division 2 league champions after defeating Urris in the decider at McCumhaill Park.

The Donegal hurlers bowed out of the Nicky Rackard Cup after losing 1-19 to 1-12 against Armagh at the Athletic Grounds in the semi-final. There was success for the Letterkenny based Team Rilion Gracie Jiu Jitsu Club at the Irish Open Championship Finals in Dublin with gold medals for T.J. McMenamin (Convoy); Stephen Simms (Convoy); William Timoney (Donegal Town) along with Head Coach and Brown Belt Brian ‘Barney’ Coyle who also won a silver medal at the British Open Championships the following weekend.

In Motorsport Wesley Patterson and his Letterkenny navigator Johnny Baird won the Carlow Stages Rally in the dramatic fashion on the last stage of the event just 0.01 of a second ahead of Welsh man Stephen Woods. There was double success for Niall McDaid at the Donegal Pool Finals in Ballyshannon. Niall’s Ballybofey/Castlefin outfit won the team event and he took the singles title after a 7-4 victory over Letterkenny’s Johnny Connors in the final.

On Friday 22nd May Finn Harps set a new unbeaten start to a season for the club of 12 games following the 2-2 draw with UCD in Ballybofey which extended Ollie Horgan’s side’s lead at the top of the table to seven points. Earlier in the month Harps had drawn away to Cabinteely followed by dramatic late wins over

Waterford Utd in Ballybofey and Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman’s Park. At the end of May a ten-men Harps side held Premiership side Longford Town to a second round FAI Senior Cup 1-1 draw at the City Calling Stadium.

Illistrin Utd won the Donegal Schoolboys Champions League Final with a 4-2 victory over Swilly Rovers at Finn Park.  Castlefin Celtic clinched the Donegal Junior League Division 1 title after a victory over Whitestrand Utd at Park View. Letterkenny Rovers Youths completed a clean sweep of the four domestic titles with a 2-1 victory over Gweedore Celtic in Ballyare with Gareth Doherty getting the winner from a free-kick in the Gorey Curran Cup Final. Glengad Utd retained the Charlie O’Donnell Memorial Cup and followed that up by winning the Jackie Crossan Premier Division title for the first time in the club’s 40 year history with a 1-0 play-off victory over Aileach at Maginn Park thanks to a 65th minute Paddy McDermott goal.

 

Cockhill Celtic lifted the Ulster Senior League title for the third successive year and made it the double by winning the Donegal News League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Bonagee Utd at Leckview Park. And Donal O’Brien’s side advanced to the third round of the FAI Cup by defeating Leinster Senior League side St. Mochta’s 3-0 at the Charlie O’Donnell Sportsgrounds.  Buncrana’s Mark Timlin and Letterkenny’s Sean Houston were among the scorers for Derry City who had a 3-0 second round victory over non-league side Edenderry in Co. Offaly. Donegal Sports Star Soccer Award winner Ciara Grant won her 15th senior cap when coming on as a sub for the Republic of Ireland who lost 3-0 to the USA in a friendly game played in San Jose.

Ex-Letterkenny Rovers player Dale Gorman signed his first professional contract with Stevenage FC. In the middle of the month Letterkenny Rovers landed the Knockalla Caravans Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Derry City Reserves at Leckview Park. St. Catherine’s clinched the double lifting the Brian McCormick Cup with a 2-1 victory over Castlefin Celtic in Ballyare. Near the end of the month the Swilly Rovers U16s ended the season with three titles by winning both the League Cup and Tadgh Culbert trophy in the space of four days. Bonagee Utd won the Donegal U-14 Champions League Final 2-0 against Cappry Rovers.  Greencastle FC completed the double by winning the Fr O’Gara Cup Final 2-1 against QPS Reserves at Maginn Park. Greencastle had already won the First Division league title.

In swimming there was bronze medals for young Swilly Seals swimmer Molly Nulty in the 100m individual medley and 50m breastroke at the Ards Junior Open in Co. Antrm. In the mixed freestyle and medley there were bronzed medals in both events for Molly Nulty, Cody Dunnion, Chloe Shiels and Peter Coyle. Coaliste Ailigh, Letterkenny managed by Finn Harps player Keith Cowan won their first ever soccer cup defeating Errigal College in the final of an U14 competition. Staying with secondary schools Lifford AC members had success at the Ulster Schools Finals at the Antrim Forum with gold and silver for Tom Mullen (Holy Cross College Strabane) in the Junior Boys Shot Putt and 200m; Brendan O’Donnell (St. Eunan’s College) Intermediate Hammer gold; Alan McGinley (Royal & Prior Raphoe) silver Intermediate 800m; Brandon Connolly (Royal & Prior Raphoe) two bronze Intermediate 100 and 400m Hurdles; Stephen McCallion (Strabane Academy) Long Jump bronze; Shannon Craig (Royal & Prior Raphoe) High Jump bronze. There was also a silver medal for Rosses AC’s Fodhla McFadden (Pobail Scoil Gweedore) in the Triple Jump.

There were also medals for Finn Valley athletes in Antrim – Naomh McGranaghan (Finn Valley College) hammer gold; Oisin Gallen (Finn Valley College) 2k steeple chase gold; Sommer Lecky (Strabane Grammar) High Jump and Long Jump Golds; Arlene Crossan (Loreto Convent Letterkenny) gold 300m silver long jump; Jade Leeper (St. Columba’s Stranorlar) gold discus, silver shot; Gavin McLaughlin (Royal & Prior)  medals in shot putt and discus; James Kelly (Royal & Prior) gold shot putt; Pauric Harold (St. Columba’s Stranorlar) gold long jump; Ian Brennan (St. Columba’s Stanorlar) silver in both triple and long jumps; Yvonne Boyle bronze shot; Bridget McDyre (Rosses CC) gold shot; Aaron McGlynn (Ballinamore College) gold 400m; Cate Smith (Holy Cross) gold long jump; Lauren Crossan (Ballinmore College) gold long jump; Aine Kerr (Deele College) silver long jump.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go www.donegalsportsstarawards.ie or on Facebook at Donegalsports Starawards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donegal Sports Star March Review

English grabs March headlines

by Declan Kerr

Mark English European Championships March Review

 

The highlight of the Donegal Sport Star March review was another extraordinary performance by Letterkenny man Mark English who won an 800 metre silver medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague. The UCD medical student produced a magnificent final lap to finish second in a top class field.

There was also the fantastic news that Milford man Brendan Boyce had made the qualifying time for next year’s Olympics in Brazil with a new personal best (3:48:55) in a 50k Race Walk in Slovakia.

Donegal teams and individuals enjoyed stunning successes in the March sporting review with rugby, bowling and badminton at the top of the pile but there is no doubting that the biggest list of achievements came in athletics.

For the second time in three years there was international rugby success for Fahan’s Nora Stapleton and Larissa Muldoon from the Twin Towns who were members of the Irish Women’s senior side that won the RBS Six Nations competition and the pair were joined for this most recent triumph by Moville’s Katie Norris.

Bowling in the county got a major boost after Ballylennon’s John Quinn won the Irish Singles title defeating the Redeemer’s Kevin Conroy 14-7 in the final. Quinn, from Convoy, was also victorious in the Triples Final along with Eddie Curran and David Crawford.

March was a very good month for the Royal & Prior Secondary School in Raphoe at the annual finals in Gormanstown with national titles for the Junior Girls and Senior Boys and runner-up medals for the Junior Boys. And for the first time Chloe and Sam Magee broke into the top 25 World Badminton Rankings.

Athletics had a great month and it started on the first day of March when Finn Valley’s John Kelly won the English Youth Championship title in Sheffield with a throw of 17.44. The following weekend Sean McFadden was first across the line in the mammoth 24 endurance challenge ‘The Race’. The Letterkenny man completed the gruelling 250k event in a time of 15 hours and eight minutes.

There was plenty of gold for Donegal at the National Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone with firsts for Cranford AC’s Oisin Kelly (U-12 600m) and Aoife Giles (U-15 Shot Putt); Finn Valley’s James Kelly (Shot Putt), Aaron McGlynn (800m) both with championship records and a former Donegal Sports Star Award winner Arlene Crossan (Long Jump). At the North West Basketball U-14 and U-16 Finals in Ballyshannon there were victories for the Ballyshannon U-16 Girls; Letterkenny Blaze U-14 Boys and the Ballyshannon U-14 Girls.

The Overall 2013 Donegal Sports Star Award winner Jason Quigley continued his unbeaten start to his professional boxing career with two very easy first and second round wins in Los Angeles.

On the last Sunday in March Rory Gallagher’s Donegal seniors assured themselves of Division 1 football again next season with a 1-13 to 0-6 win over Tyrone at McCumhaill Park.

It was the day that St. Michael’s Colm Anthony McFadden set a new Donegal senior appearance record playing for the 160th time for his county.

The Donegal senior ladies side went through the Division 2 league campaign unbeaten to secure a place in the semi-finals of the competition.

In the middle of March a late Ryan McHugh goal secured the Donegal U21s a place in the Ulster Championship semi-final with Maxi Curran’s side defeating Cavan 1-7 to 0-9 at McCumhaill Park.

In martial arts Meenbanad native Joseph Duffy made a great start to his UFC career defeating American Jake Lindsey in Dallas in the lightweight division with an early TKO while St. Johnston lad Damien Duddy won an Irish Junior Kickboxing title.

It was another good month Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanaghan winning both the West Cork Rally in their Ford Focus WRC and also the Midlands Rally.

Finn Harps made a super start to their League of Ireland First Division campaign with three wins and a draw in March that put Ollie Horgan’s men top of the table at the end of the month.

Meanwhile Finn Harps legend Brendan Bradley was named ‘Greatest ever Player’ to play in the League of Ireland in a poll carried out by the Irish Examiner newspaper.

In the middle of March the Inishowen Junior League booked their place in the semi-finals of the Oscar Traynor Cup with a 1-0 win over the United Churches League. Crana College student Lee McCarron was in the goals for the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys who had a 3-2 win over Northern Ireland in the Centenary Shield.

Letterkenny Rovers secured their place in the FAI Youth semi-finals with a super 1-0 extra-time away win over Wexford Youths.

And at the end of the month two former Donegal Sports Star Award winners Shay Given and Seamus Coleman were members of the Republic of Ireland team that drew 1-1 with Poland at the Aviva Stadium in a European Championship qualifier while Carndonagh’s Harry Doherty was in goal for the Republic of Ireland U19 team who drew 2-2 with Slovakia in their final UEFA Championship qualifier in Mannheim.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to www.donegalsportsstarawards.ie

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