Donegal had October sporting stars
Successes in soccer, horseracing, motorsport, triathlon, gymnastics, darts, GAA, cycling and hurling all feature in the Donegal Sports Star October Review as the countdown continues to the big 40th Awards celebrations. So it’s important now that all the 2015 sporting achievers get their nominations in by Friday week November 27th. Donegal soccer hit the headlines on the last weekend of October when second half goals from Nathan Boyle and Josh Mailey gave Finn Harps a 2-1 home second leg victory over UCD that secured Ollie Horgan’s side a place in the promotion/relegation play-off against Limerick F.C. The previous week Ciaran Coll’s early goal had given Harps a 1-0 win at Belfield for a 3-1 aggregate victory.
There was very good start to the month for a former Donegal Sports Star Award winner Martin Harley as the Trentagh jockey had big wins at Longchamp in France and at Kempton Park in the UK. On the Sunday, Harley steered Goldream to a Grade One win in Longchamp in the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp for Robert Cowell. Then on the Tuesday evening at Kempton the Trentagh man had two firsts. He rode Hugo Palmer’s Nessita to victory at 10/3 odds and was then on 25/1 shot Sir Jack Layden who won in the 32red handicap at Kempton. At the end of that same week Harley had two more winners at a race meeting in Wolverhampton. The Trentagh native rode 7/2 shot Devon Drum to victory followed by Sheila’s Treat at odds of 20/1.
In Motorsport Declan Gallagher and Ryan Moore took the title in the modified section of the Irish Tarmac Championship after winning the two-wheel category in a Toyota Starlet. Later in the month Gallagher and Moore finished third in the Fastnet Rally in Bantry which gave the Donegal crew the Modified section of the National Championship and 4th overall. Early in the month Aidan Callaghan from the Letterkenny 24/7 Club member was named overall winner of Triathlon Ireland’s Super Series. Callaghan had finished in ninth place at the Pulse Port Beach Triathlon in Clougherhead, Co Louth in September but his triumph was only confirmed after his nearest rival Chris Mintern (Cork Triathlon Club) was disqualified meaning he didn’t finish the obligatory four races needed to be considered for overall classification.
In the middle of October the young Finesse Gymnastics Senior Display Team based in Letterkenny won silver medals for their overall outstanding performance at the London Festival of Gymnastics. The team performed alongside 52 teams from all over the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.
In darts 16-year-old Newtowncunningham schoolboy Jordan Boyce put up a great performance coming back from 3-0 down against the experienced Tony ‘Silverback’ O’Shea to level before eventually losing 5-3 at the Grand Slam of Darts qualifiers in Hull. It was the biggest match of the young Deele College student’s career against O’Shea, who was the beaten finalist in the BDO World Championships in 2009, 2012 and 2013. Later the same week Boyce secured his place at the Lakeside in January after qualifying for the BDO World Youth Championship final. Boyce will meet England’s Josh Richardson in the World Youth finals after winning six qualifying games at City Hall in Hull.
14-man Naomh Conaill had a thrilling 0-11 to 0-10 victory over St. Eunan’s in the Donegal Senior Football Championship Final and the club completed a memorable seven days by winning the All-Ireland Gaeltacht senior title for the first time by defeating Kilcar in the rescheduled final in Ardara by 1-11 to 0-6. In cycling Dunlewey girl Amanda Gallagher had a fantastic international result winning her first junior race in the Netherlands. Amanda, a member of the Errigal Cycling Club, was with the Irish Ladies 2020 Talent Team. The 15-year-old was actually elevated from the U16’s category to race at the higher standard junior level. Burt’s Ronan McDermott and Jamsie Donnelly (McCumhaills) were named on the Nicky Rackard All-Star hurling team of the year.
On the first weekend of the month Letterkenny AC’s Kieran Doherty and Fionnuala Diver won their respective male and female categories at the Donegal Master’s Cross-County Championships in Carndonagh. A fortnight later Finn Valley’s Mark McPaul and Letterkenny AC’s Nikita Burke won the respective male and female Donegal Novice Cross-Country Championship categories in Stranorlar. Finn Valley won the men’s team section while Letterkenny were first in the female team category. Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn won the women’s 8k race at the Autumn Open Cross Country at the Phoenix Park in a time of 29:24.
Twice in October Chloe Magee lost international quarter-finals. First the Raphoe woman went down to Dane Line Kjaersfeldt at the Dutch Open 2-1 and then at Badminton’s Super Series in France, Chloe lost to the world number four from Japan 21-14 21-5. At the end of October, Letterkenny brothers Sean and Padraig McGettigan were presented with their international caps at an awards ceremony in the National Basketball Arena after representing Ireland earlier in the year. Sean was on the international U17 side while Padraig wore the colours of the Irish U15 team.
In boxing Carrigart B.C.’s Meave McCarron took gold following her third round TKO against Enniscorthy’s Jenny Carlyle in a National Intermediate Boxing Championship Final at the National Stadium in the 81+ category. Finn Valley’s Austeja Auciute had to settle for runner-up in her final. The Donegal U15 camogie team made history by winning the All Ireland Tier 2 blitz Shield Final at Trim, Co Meath defeating Roscommon in the decider. Over in Leeds there was a big Donegal connection as Edinburgh’s Dunedin Connolly’s retained their title as All-Britain Intermediate GAA champions thanks to a 3-12 to 2-8 win over John Mitchels (Liverpool). Ex-St Eunan’s forward, Angie Callaghan scored a first half goal while Rathmullan native Caolfhionn Deeney converted a penalty just after the interval. Also on the Dunedin side was former Cloughaneely and Donegal player Karen Feeney as Connolly’s took their third British title in a row having won the Junior section in 2013. Former St Eunan’s player Jonathan Foley was a member of the backroom team.
Early in the month Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin, Treasa Doherty (Carndonagh) and Ciara Hegarty (Moville) are among 45 players nominated for the Ladies Gaelic Football Association TG4 All-Stars Awards. There was some consolation for St. Michael’s as Eddie Harkin’s won the club’s first ever league Division 1 league title. Bundoran were very easy winners of the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship Final defeating Naomh Colmcille 4-17 to 0-4 but the Termon Ladies failed in their bid to retain the Ulster Senior Football title losing 0-14 to 0-7 to Monaghan’s Donaghmoyne in the final played in Killyclogher. However, the club did have some success as the Termon senior men’s team won the Division 2 league title and secured promotion to the top flight following a 2-11 to 2-5 victory over St. Nauls in Convoy.
The Three Rivers returned home from the ONAKAI National Championships with martial arts silver medals for Emma Dolan and Natasha Doherty and bronze for Ryan Doherty, Jamie-Lee Simpson and Ciarán Crawford. Convoy’s T.J. McMenamin won gold and silver medals in the no-gi (shorts & vest) and gi (martial arts uniform) at the IBIJF London International Open Championship. T.J. is a member of the Rilion Gracie Academy in Letterkenny.
In motorcycling 17 year old Caolán Irwin from Kilmacrennan made his debut on the Aprilia 550cc at the prestigious Adelaide Masters Championship, Mondello Park securing an incredible second place in the Supertwin 650cc Class despite giving away 100cc engine power to the more competitive 650 bikes. Caolán followed that up with the best race of his young career in Cadwell Park, England at the British Championship finishing in third place in the 450 cc class. He then went on to surpass all expectations in the Supertwin Class on the more powerful 550cc Aprilia, where he was giving away 100 cc of power to the bigger 650 bikes securing another strong podium finish.
Later in October, Caolan and his younger brother Rhys had further success. Caolan had 2nd and 3rd places and Rhys (two second places) at the prestigious International Sunflower Trophy Races at Bishopscourt hosted by the Hillsborough Club.
Staying with motorcycling Richard Kerr the 15-year-old from Kilmacrennan had two very good days on the penultimate round of the championship at Silverstone. Richard finished Race 1 on the Saturday in 13th position and three valuable points in the bag. In Race two on the Sunday and Richard held off a strong six-man pack in the closing stages to claim 11th position and score four more valuable points. Kerr finished the BSB season with a 16th place finish position at Brands Hatch. That placing also secured him 16th overall in the Motostar Championship. Kerr ended the 2015 short circuit racing with a brace of victories at the prestigious Sunflower Trophy races at Bishopscourt.
At the Cork 20 International Rally Donagh Kelly won his section having previously secured the Irish Tarmac Championship title. Declan and Brian Boyle were victorious in the Donegal Harvest Stages Rally 2015. Letterkenny Rugby Club’s Joseph Dunleavy was named in the Irish U18 squad for next year’s international series while in Shinty, Setanta’s Shane Gallen was named in the Ireland U21 squad for a Shinty-Hurling International in Inverness. Ballybofey’s Johnny Dunleavy captained Cork City to a place the FAI Cup final after the Leesiders managed a narrow 1-0 win over underdogs Bray Wanderers the Carlisle grounds.
There was disappointment for Seamus Coleman as the Republic of Ireland lost 2-1 to Poland meaning no automatic ticket to the 2016 World Cup Finals. Shay Given who went off injured in the win over Germany missed the game in Warsaw. It was a memorable month for Rathmullan’s Zoe Green who played a full part as the Republic of Ireland Women’s U17s won all three matches in the UEFA European Championship qualifiers in Turkey. In the middle of October there was a unique achievement by the three McNamee brothers from Ramelton who all scored on the same day for their respective clubs in League of Ireland football. First youngest sibling Shane (16) was on the mark for the Derry City U16s in a 4-0 home win over Drogheda Utd. Later in the evening at the Markets Field oldest brother Barry (23) got a vital second goal for the Derry City senior side for a 2-0 victory over hosts Limerick FC. And then in a night time fixture the middle member of the McNamee trio Tony converted a first half penalty which set Finn Harps on their way to a 4-1 win over First Division champions Wexford Youths. The Harps victory was also special for 17-year-old B.J. Banda who scored twice on his full debut for Ollie Horgan’s side. In the middle of the month Ramelton lad Kyle Callan-McFadden completed his move to US Major League Soccer side Orlando City on a three-year contract.
For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to the website donegalsportsstarawards.ie, on Facebook at Donegalsports Starawards or at Twitter DonegalSportsStars.