International success for Donegal sports
The Donegal Sports Star Awards July review reveals a splendid spread of international successes in swimming, boxing, gymnastics and hockey.
On the first Sunday in July, Marlins Ballyshannon club member Mona McSharry won two gold medals and a silver at the European Junior Swimming Championships. The golds were secured in the 50m and 100m breastrokes while silver came in the 200m breastroke. Mona also set two new Irish senior and junior records in those events. She also set a new Irish junior record as part of the Mixed Medley Relay who finished fourth.
With her two golds and a silver this time and a silver and bronze from last year Mona is now the most successful Irish swimmer ever at the European Junior Championships.
Another a member of the Marlins Swimming Club, 12-year-old Cora Rooney enjoyed success at the national championships winning gold in the 400m individual medley, 100m free, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke. Cora also took silver in 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle.
Towards the end of July there was a brilliant bronze medal for Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club member John Moran at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. The 18-year-old earned his bronze after defeating Samoan Seonoa Hall in a quarter-final bout. Moran’s bid for a silver medal was ended in a tight semi-final contest losing out to Nathan James Probert from Wales.
17 members of the Finesse Gymnastics Club, representing, Ireland won a team bronze at the World Gym for Life Challenge in Vestfold, Norway. And there was international success for young Raphoe hockey players Ben Wallace and Alexander Tinney who were members of the Ireland U18 team who defeated England 4-2 in a 6 Nations tournament in Nottingham. It was the first time in three years for the Irish to do so and it meant they came higher in the group than England.
At home Mark English took gold while there was bronze for Karl Griffin in the 800m Final at the Irish Track & Field Championships in Dublin. Also at the finals Finn Valley’s John Kelly won the senior shot putt gold and in the process becoming the first Donegal man to do so since John Gallagher of Cruit Island 65 years ago while Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn was second in the 5000m Women’s Final.
Track specialist, Milford man Brian Boyce, competing in the colours of Letterkenny Athletic Club continued his excellent recent form. Having picked up double bronze in the Athletics Ireland Master’s Championship, Boyce was in even better form in the Northern Ireland Master’s Finals at the Mary Peters’ track in Belfast. He achieved a golden double. He was first in the M40 category in his preferred distance of 400m in a time of 54.58s. He also the winner in the 200m when he ran 24.23s.
Bosco Reid won national Masters shot putt titles on both sides of the border on successive days. First the Finn Valley member retained the National Masters in Tullamore on the Saturday. And then on the Sunday repeated that success at Northern Masters Finals in Belfast. Donegal won the All-Ireland C U21 Hurling Championship with a 1-14 to 0-12 victory over Sligo at Markievicz Park.
On the first Sunday of the month Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin played a captain’s role with a magnificent 2-6 as Donegal landed a second TG4 Ulster senior title in three seasons in Clones against reigning champions Monaghan (4-11 to 0-15). Michael Naughton’s side laid the foundations for this marvelous win with the help of three first half goals from Termon’s Roisin Friel, Yvonne McMonagle of Glenfin and then McLaughlin struck before the break to give the Tirconaill outfit a 3-5 to 0-9 advantage.
Rhys Irwin was in dominant form on his return to the Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park at the weekend. Riding in the Lightweight Supersport class the Donegal teenager took three wins, along with three fastest race laps, and lifted an additional cash award for scoring the most points of any competitor in his class over the three races. Rhys also picked up four wins at the British Series Racing in Rockington while his older brother Caolan recorded two podium finishes at the UK circuit.
The Donegal-Derry Vipers moved top of the Irish American Football League 1 after narrowly defeating promotion favourites Craigavon Cowboys 21-20 away from home.
11-year-old Alex Hughes Frosses schoolboy won a tournament at Kirk’s Bar in Clady, which has secured him a place at the Worthington’s Champion of Champions Final in Cardiff at the end of August.
There was national success for two young Letterkenny boxers Joe Harkin and Paddy McShane.
And Ardara woman Charolette Kennedy enjoyed international Clay Pigeon Shooting success in Scotland as a member of the Irish team that won three titles – the Home Internationals, the British Open and the European Championships. Newtowncunningham man Jim Doherty was second in the British Open at the same championships.
The fifth annual Letterkenny International Track & Field meeting saw a string of outstanding performances at the Aura’s Danny McDaid Track. The crowds were treated to five meeting records across a host of world class events, as well as World championship and Commonwealth Games qualification standards. When the curtain came down on the meeting, Letterkenny Athletic Club could be very pleased with the event, with 100 athletes from 25 countries from all over the World taking part.
Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Teresa McDaid travelled to Bydgoszcz, Poland during the month as manager of a very strong Irish team in the European Athletics Under 23 Championship.
Donegal suffered a heavy 4-17 to 0-4 defeat at the hands of Galway in a Round 4 Qualifier at Markievicz Park in Sligo. The painful loss came after Rory Gallagher’s side was fortunate to get over Longford (0-12 to 0-7) at McCumhaill Park on the first day of July. A week later Donegal maintained their interest in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship thanks to Paddy McBrearty’s injury-time winner against Meath at Pairc Tailteann in Navan.
The Donegal Masters got their championship off to the perfect start with a 1-15 to 0-9 wn over Leitrim/Longford in Ballinamore with St. Michael’s man Brian McLaughlin getting the goal in the second half. Val Murray’s side then made it back-to-back wins by overcoming Tyrone on a score of 1-9 to 0-8 at Coaliste Ailigh in Letterkenny with Brian McLaughlin again getting the goal this time in the first half.
In horseracing Letterkenny youngster Dylan Browne McMonagle made the long trip to Tipperary to take victory aboard Waratah in the 148 cm ponies. Dylan continued his winning ways with a fine treble – he also had wins with Half Price in the mile and a quarter open and Jungle Juice in the 12 furlong open. A week later the 14-year-old jockey won nine of his 15 mounts at the two-day Big Isle meeting in Manorcunningham.
And near the end of the month Dylan stayed on course for the senior jockeys championship title with three wins at a race meeting in Porthall, Lifford.
On the last Friday of July, Finn Harps secured a big three points with a 3-2 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Eddie Dsane and new signing Mark Timlin put Harps 2-0 up at the break. Ten men Bray pulled a goal back but Abrahim Kieta headed in a third that just about saw the visitors over the line after the hosts pulled a second goal back to make it a tense finish for Ollie Horgan’s outfit. It rounded a pretty good month for Harps.
On the first Friday of the month goals from Dsane and Danny Morrissey saw the Donegal outfit record a deserved 2-0 victory over Drogheda United at United Park on Friday night. A week later Dsane was on the mark again along with Sean Houston helping Harps to a really big three points in an impressive performance against in-form Bohemians in Ballybofey. The only low of the month was the concession of those two late goals against Derry City that denied Horgan’s men a share of the spoils in the rescheduled League of Ireland Premier Division match in Ballybofey. The hosts had gone quite well but then those late strikes from Darren Cole and Aaron McEneff gave the Candystripes a 2-0 win.
In early July Letterkenny man Dale Gorman converted a penalty to give his English League Two side Stevenage a 2-2 draw against Norwich City in a pre-season friendly. Stevenage came from 2-0 down with Gorman’s spot-kick equalizer coming on 66 minutes.
Sean McBride from the Twin Towns and Ramelton lad Shane McNamee played for a Republic of Ireland U19 home based squad in a friendly game against the Irish Universities side in Dublin.
Milford woman Amber Barrett and Meenlaragh’s Joe Coll were named in the respective women’s and men’s soccer squads for the 2017 Summer Universiade, which will be hosted in Taipei on the island of Taiwan.
Barrett is a student at NUI Maynooth, was an outstanding underage player with the Republic of Ireland. Her goal scoring record has been consistently of the highest standard and that was recognized last season with a national award when playing with club side Peamount Utd in Dublin.
Goalkeeper Coll currently plays his club football with Donegal Junior League side Glenea Utd with whom he won a Premiership medal back in April. He is a student at the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology. Coll is a former Manchester Utd academy player and was capped at a number of age levels with the Republic of Ireland.