Donegal Sports Star Awards July Review

Sommer Lecky (middle)

July joy for Donegal Sports Stars

There was a huge spread of athletic successes during July while boxing, GAA, horseracing, rugby, motorcycling, motorsport, soccer and swimming also feature in the latest edition of the Donegal Sports Star Awards monthly review.

 

July was busy and good for Finn Valley Club members John Kelly and Sommer Lecky who were in action at the European Classic Grand Prix in Karlstad Sweden early in the month. St. Johnston man Kelly finished third in the Shot Putt, throwing 17.66m while Lecky’s best leap in the High Jump was 1.77m. Meanwhile, back at home there was gold for Lecky in the Junior High-Jump at the National U20 / U23 Athletics Championships in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. John Kelly’s brother James took the Junior Shot-Putt title at the same Championships. Also in Tullamore Finn Valley athlete Oisin Gallen won bronze in the 1500m. Following their successes Lecky and Kelly were named in the Irish U20 team for the European Championships in Sweden. Lecky qualified for the High Jump Final in Sweden with a leap of 1.81m but the Finn Valley AC member failed in her bid for a Euro medal. And there was no joy either for her club colleague James Kelly who failed to progress in the Shot Putt.

John Kelly Finn Valley AC

Back at the National Underage Championships there were medals in Tullamore for Shane Irwin of Finn Valley in the 400m and Sarah Kelly of Inishowen AC in the Junior 3000m. Letterkenny AC member Niamh Kelly gained a 3000m track PB of 10.06 as she picked up bronze in the Under 23 Championships in Tullamore. There was silver for Bridget McDyre (Rosses AC) in the Distance Throwing event while Tirconaill AC’s Caolan O Callaghan took silver medal in the Triple Jump. On the Sunday there were gold medals at the National Underage Championships for Lauren Callaghan in the triple jump and Blaine Lynch set a new Irish record in winning the javelin. It was gold also for Oisin Kelly of Cranford in the 800m and Letterkenny AC’s Patrick McDaid won a bronze medal in the same race. Tirconaill AC’s Riona Doherty took silver in the hurdles while her club colleague Ben Campbell (100m Hurdles) also picked up a silver medal. Another Tirconaill AC member Niamh Mohan won gold in the 80m U16 Hurdles Final. There were bronze medals for Eoin Sharkey (U18 100m Hurdles) and Tori Murchan (U15 High Jump). Letterkenny AC’s Michella Galvin took gold in the U16 Triple Jump

 

In early July, Letterkenny AC’s Conor Gallagher put on a tremendous track performance as he picked up the bronze medal at the Northern Ireland/Ulster 10000m Championship in Magherafelt. His time of  33.51 was a track PB for the distance. Letterkenny AC member Annmarie McGlynn had a superb run as she ran  33.38 for 10000m in Highgate, London. She was competing as a member of the Irish team at the European Cup 10k.

 

In the middle of the month, Ramelton man Shane Irwin’s bid for success with the Irish 4x400m team in the European U23 Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden ended in disappointment. Shane and his three team mates were eliminated after the heats. On the international front Finn Valley’s Brian O’Domhnaill was first in his age category and fifth in the 10,000 metres walk. at the North & Central American and Caribbean World Masters Athletics (NCCWMA) Regional Championships in Toronto, Canada.

 

Later in July John Kelly made more headlines as the Finn Valley AC man set a new Donegal and Ulster record in the Shot Putt with a throw of 18.01m at a competition in Sweden. And then at the National Track & Field Championships John Kelly and Mollie Gribbin, also of Finn Valley AC, picked up medals for the Shot Putt and Long Jump respectively.

 

Kelly took silver after throwing a 17.66m to win his medal while Gribbin jumped 5.9m to finish second also.

 

At the same championships Lifford-Strabane AC member Gareth Crawford set a new Donegal Senior Record in the Javelin. Crawford threw 64.13m, to take a silver medal.

 

Tír Chonaill AC’s Kelly McGrory was a silver medal winner at the National Senior Track & Field Championships in Santry as she set a new Donegal record in the 400m Hurdles in a time of 60.44. Finn Valley AC’s Sommer Lecky won silver in the High Jump with a 1.80m at the same Championships while her club colleague Brendan Boyce took a silver medal in the 10,000m Race Walk. The Milford man’s time was 42 minutes 1.26 seconds. The winner was Alex Wright of Leevale AC in 41.30.41

 

Mark English won the 800m national title in Santry in a time of 1.48.15. Mark, running in the UCD AC colours has now won the National 800m title seven times.

Chloe and Sam Magee

In badminton Sam and Chloe Magee continued their good form from the European Games by winning silver medals at the Russia White Knights international challenge event. They reached the final with two wins on Saturday, beating English pair Rory Easton and Slan Kelly 21-15 21-13 and Indian duo Krishna Prasar Garaga and S Ram Poorvisha 21-11 21-18. The Magees who were the winners of the tournament in 2015, lost out to the number one seeds and defending champions from Russia Rodion Alimove and Alina Davletova by 2-1. Having lost the first set 21-16, Chloe and Sam won the second 21-13. However, the Russians came back to take the title with a 21-16 win in the third and final set.

 

On the first Saturday of July, Illies Golden Gloves boxer Carleigh Irvine won the Irish Junior Cadets Final at the National Stadium after defeating Glin’s Angelina Duffy in the 46kgs category.

 

Five days late, on her international debut, Irvine defeated an Italian opponent in the 46kgs category at a Schoolgirls tournament in Edenderry. As a result of those successes Carleigh was named in the 32-strong Irish squad for the European Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Championships in Georgia.

 

Abroad, Jason Quigley suffered the first defeat of his professional boxing career when the Twin Towns middleweight lost his North American title after being stopped by Tureano Johnson in California. Quigley did not come out from his corner for the tenth and final round. There was a fifth national boxing title for Leah Gallen as the Raphoe ABC member won the national U18 69kgs title in Dublin and will now represent Ireland at the European Youth Championships in Sofia Bulgaria from the 2nd to the 11th of September

 

Talented Glenswilly cyclist Conor Gallagher was included in an Irish team that will take part in the World Youth Tour in Austria. Conor’s selection came after doing well at trials in Kerry.  Bundoran girl Ella Clancy and Kelly-Rose Flanagan (Carndonagh) qualified to compete at the Dublin Horse Show which takes place at the RDS.

 

Geraldine McLaughlin

In the sport of GAA, Glenfin Club player Katy Herron signed a contract with Women’s A-F-L side the Western Bulldogs. Midfielder Herron was a key player in Donegal’s third Ulster title in-a-row triumph. Donegal Senior Men’s and Ladies players Jamie Brennan and Geraldine McLaughlin were recognised for outstanding performances in June, by winning the Player of the Month awards. Brennan got the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month for June while McLaughlin picked up the Croke Park / LGFA Player of the Month award.

 

Two Donegal players Sean McDaid and Michael Ward were named on the Ireland Masters squad to play Australia in an International Rules test in Cavan.The Donegal Masters men had a 2-15 to 0-09 win over Cavan in the All-Ireland Championship series. In the middle of the month a nine-point win certainly flattered Donegal but it was  a case of job done and a Super 8s opener win over Meath at a sunny McCumhaill Park. A week later, a last gasp Michael Murphy free secured Donegal a draw against Kerry in a highly entertaining second game in the Super 8s at Croke Park.

 

Maxi Curran’s plan to secure the  Donegal Senior Ladies an opening group win in the TG4 Ladies All-Ireland Senior Football Championship series on was upset by underdogs Tyrone (3-12 to 3-9) at Cusack Park, Mullingar. And the massive effort put in by the Donegal Ladies during the season ended in big disappointment as Mayo advanced to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Championship after a three-point Group win (1-22 to 3-12) in O’Connor Park, Tullamore.

 

Ballyshannon native Donal Scott was a coach to the Irish Women’s golf team at the European Championships  in Italy. And young Dunfanaghy golfer James T Sweeney was named on the Ulster U14 team  to play in an inter-provincial Championship in Athlone.

 

13 gymnasts from the Donegal Finesse Gymnastics Club represented Ireland at the World Gymnaestrada in Dornbirn Austria. It was only the second time in WG history that Ireland has been in attendance.

 

It was a month full of success for Donegal jockeys including the Orr brothers, Luke McAteer and Dylan Browne McMonagle. Rathmullan jockey Oisin Orr was in the winners enclosure yet again, this time in Roscommon. Orr rode Forest View to victory in the Budweiser Maiden for trainer John Kiely.  It was Oisin’s 30th winner of the season. His brother Conor Orr rode the 50/1 Ray Hackett trained ‘Rock On Bennie’ to victory in the Finbarr Quaid Electrical Mares Handicap Hurdle at a meeting in Cork.

 

In the middle of July there was a good weekend for the Orr siblings as they rode winners at horse racing meetings in Cork and Fairyhouse. Conor rode 50/1 shot, the Ray Hackett trained ‘Rock On Bennie’ to victory in the Finbarr Quaid Electrical Mares Handicap Hurdleat Cork on the Friday. On the Sunday Oisin rode the Peter Fahey trained Eadbhard to victory in the Summer Evening Racing 17th July Handicap.

 

Conor Orr

The Orr brothers and Luke McAteer, also from Rathmullan were in the winners enclosures in Killarney and Leopardstown on the one day. In Killarney Conor Orr was first home on 5/2 favourite Whenurgoodurgood in the Dawn Milk Omega Maiden Hurdle for trainer Nigel Slevin. At Leopardstown Luke McAteer won the SAP Concur Apprentice Handicap on Suaimhneach at 11/1 for trainer Jim Bolger. Also in Leopardstown, in the Carnival Extravaganza Maiden, Oisin Orr was on the 11/4 joint favourite Luruxiant for trainer Dermot Weld.

 

The Orrs also had winners at horse racing meetings in Cartmel and at the Curragh on the same day. Conor’s victory came in the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle at Cartmel on the the Noel C Kelly trained Decor Irlandais. Oisin’s success came in the final race of the day at the Curragh. He won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF on board the Dermot Weld trained Mia Maria.

 

Dylan Browne McMonagle on the left

It was also a July of joy for Dylan Browne McMonagle who had a total of nine winners between race meetings in Bundoran and Broadford, Co. Limerick on one weekend. The Letterkenny teenager followed that up with the long journey to Taghmon Co Wexford where he bagged another treble bringing his total this season to 44. Dylan and Philip Byrnes shared the honours at the Big Isle Manorcunningham race meeting when both jockeys won five races each. Brandon Wilkie made the long trek to Ballyconneelly in West Connemara Co Galway. He had a red letter afternoon by taking the 138cm on Little Spirit and then recording his double when West Boots took the 12 furlong open.

 

Two former Raphoe players Alexander Tinney and Luke Witherow were named on the Irish hockey team for a European U21 Tournament in the Czech Republic. In motorcycling, Kilmacrennan teenager Rhys Irwin was in World Superbikes action in Donington Park as part of the British Talent Cup road to Moto GP team. Rhys  was strong at the front but was pipped for the podium on the last bend on the Saturday. In Sunday’s race he again started from the front row showing great form and had another strong finish, overall leaving him just a few points separating the top riders for the Championship.

 

Rhys and his older brother Caolan were then in action at the British Superbike Championship at Snetterton, Norfolk. Rhys was back in British Talent Cup action while Caolán was running in the British National Superstock 600 class. The Kilmac boys had another positive weekend with Caolán just missing out on a podium in the Superstock class while Rhys showed his ability to overcome problems with two strong fightbacks from last on the grid following a qualifying crash.

 

Another Kilmacrennan lad, Richard Kerr had a great round 6 of the Championships at Snetterton. Riding the Campbell Motorsport Triumph, Richard had a few steady practice sessions and qualified in 13th position (10th Supersport) as the Moto Two Class runs alongside the Supersports.

 

Richard had a great Race 1 and was in the top ten all through, eventually finishing in a fantastic 7th position in the Supersport Class.

 

Richard lined up on row 5 for race two and after taking a few laps to sort themselves out the Kilmac man was in 9th position in the Supersports  and three seconds off a six man battle for 5th place.

 

In the middle of July, Pettigo man Kevin Eves and his co-driver Chris Melly in a Toyota Corolla were first in the two-wheel drive category and fourth overall in the Sligo Stages Rally. Ryan Moore in a Honda Civic won the Junior (Class 16) category.  At the start of the month there was disappointment for Gartan’s Mya Alcorn as the Irish Girls Under 18s Rugby Sevens team suffered a narrow defeat in the Paris World Games final. The girls in green were at the top of their game up until their final match, having won five out of their five matches. Alcorn played her part in 39-5 and 31-0 victories on the Sunday. Mya, who plays her club rugby with Letterkenny was also part of the Irish squad that won three games on the Saturday, scoring a total of 117 points and conceding just 17.

 

Finn Harps made a great start to July, making it four points from two league games after drawing for the second time with Cork City this season. Then there was a setback for Ollie Horgan’s side in their battle for Premier Division survival after losing 1-0 to bottom of the table UCD. However, Harps then bounced back with an away win over Waterford and a rare victory over Derry City at Finn Park. Both were 1-0 wins with Mikey Place the scorer against Waterford while Harry Ascroft got the all important goal against the Candystripes.

 

There were impressive performances from two Finn Harps Girls Academy teams at a tournament in Dublin over the weekend. The U13s reached the final at their age group while the U15s made it to the semi-finals stages. Three Donegal women Zoe Green (Rathmullan), Zoe McGlynn (Raphoe) and Gemma McGuinness (Greencastle) were members of the the Irish international soccer team who won their first group match at the World University Games, 1-0 against reigning champions Brazil in the Stadio Mauro in Naples and on to qualify for the semi-final where they lost 5-0 to North Korea in Naples.

 

Letterkenny Celtic U10s won an international tournament in Wroclaw, Poland. Ballybofey man Oisin Merritt was one of the goal scorers as the Republic of Ireland Cerebral Palsy had a big 10-1 win over Finland in Seville in a World Cup opener. On the last Sunday of July, Balllyshannon’s Cora Rooney won gold in the Backstroke 100m and 200m events at the National Championships as well as a bronze in the Individual Medley.

 

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or visit Facebook Donegalsport Starawards and Twitter @DLsportstars.

Donegal Sports Star Awards June Review

Donegal Ulster Senior Champions 2019

The first half of the sporting year has now past as the Donegal Sports Star Awards review looks back at the highlights from the month of June. Badminton, athletics, soccer, cycling, GAA, powerlifting, horseracing, gymnastics, rowing, boxing, motorsport and motorcycling all feature.

There was a joyful end to June for the Raphoe siblings Sam and Chloe Magee who won badminton bronze medals at the European Games in Minsk after defeating their Dutch opponents Selina Piek and Robin Tabeling 21-19 21-17 in the Mixed Doubles quarter final. It was the second time for the Magees  to win Euro bronze having previously done so in Baku four years. Earlier in the month Chloe and Sam Magee had also qualified for the semi-finals of the Spanish International Tournament after a tight 21-18 24-22 win over Hall and MacPherson of Scotland.

Chloe & Sam Magee

 

June was also good for Tir Chonaill  AC’s Kelly McGrory who was part of the Irish Mixed 4x400m Relay team that set a new national record with a combined time of 3:24.14.

at the European Games in Minsk’s Dinamo Arena. At home McGrory also won the 400m Hurdles Ulster/ANI Senior Final at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast in a time of 61.37 seconds. Finn Valley AC’s John Kelly set a new Donegal and Ulster record in the Shot Putt in Sweden with a throw 17.79 metres, that saw the St. Johnston man finish in fifth place. Kelly’s Finn Valley AC colleague Brendan Boyce had a third place finish in the National 20k Walk Championships in Leeds. The newly wed Boyce also got the good news that he will represent Ireland at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar at the end of September.

Letterkenny Athletic Club’s 2012 Olympian, Catriona Jennings, had a superb run in the gruelling Comrades’ Marathon in South Africa. It is one of the world’s oldest and most famous road races. In the 94th edition of the 86.83KM race, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Catriona was the third woman home in an excellent time of 6.24.12. In a distance of more than double that of a Marathon, Catriona’s average pace was 4.25/km. On the first day of June Abbey VS student Niamh Mohan won gold in the Inter Girls 80m Hurdles in Tullamore. Carndonagh man Karol Doherty was the first Wheelchair athlete over the finish line at the Walled Derry City Marathon in a time of 2.39.40. Two Letterkenny AC runners, Annmarie McGlynn and Eoin Hughes, turned in tremendous performances in the Irish Milers’  Track meeting at the Mary Peters track in Belfast. In glorious sunshine, Annmarie stormed to victory in the 5000m race in a time of 16.09. Eoin Hughes had a fine run and his highly creditable time of 15.47 gave him second place in the men’s 5000m race.

Ulster titles for Donegal Men and Ladies

The Donegal Senior GAA men’s side made it back-to-back Ulster titles for only the second time in the County’s history with a comfortable five points win (1-24 to 2-16) over Cavan in the Ulster Final at St. Tiernanch’s Park in Clones. On the last day of June, the Donegal Ladies won their third successive Ulster Senior Football Championship title with a quite superb 15-point (5-12 to 1-9) win over Armagh at St. Tiernach’s Park, Clones. It was manager Maxi Curran’s second time to achieve the provincial triumph after Michael Naughton who had been the manager in 2017. Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin and surprise starter Niamh McLaughlin from Moville did the bulk of the scoring ending up with a combined total of 4-5.

For the second consecutive year the Na Dunaibh Club was crowned All-Ireland Junior Football Gaeltacht champions after a very comfortable 11-point win over Cork side Ballingeary (2.12 to 1-4). But there was disappointment for Kilcar in the senior All-Ireland Football Gaeltacht Final as Barry Doherty’s side lost to the hosts An Gaeltacht 0-12 0-11 with the winning point coming in the dying seconds of extra-time. There was no joy either for the Donegal Minors and U20s. The Minors lost their Ulster Football Semi-final 5-10 to 2-11 to Monaghan at Brewster Park. Gary Duffy’s side went in level at the break but were outscored 2-5 to 0-3 in the second half. The Donegal U20s bowed out of the Ulster Championship losing 0-14 to 0-12 to Fermanagh in Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

Bonagee Utd man Noel O’Donnell was one of the goal scorers and Milford’s Gavin Grier also played his part as the Republic of Ireland Deaf Men International team won their European Quarter-final 7-5 against Italy in a 12-goal thriller on the Greek Island of Crete. Creeslough lad Edward O’Reilly and Dungloe’s James Boyle were members of the Bohemians Amputee squad that won the Fussballiade tournament in Munich. After coming through the group stages to book a place in the final against Shamrock Rovers. Boyle, who scored 11 goals in total in the tournament, gave Bohs a 1-0 half-time lead and they added a second after the break to take the trophy back to Dalymount Park. The versatile O’Reilly was in goals but is also a fine outfield footballer. He kept five clean sheets as Bohs went through the competition without conceding a goal.

Seamus Coleman captained the Republic of Ireland in a 2-0 win over Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium that sees Micky McCarthy’s side go into the summer five-points clear at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group D.  Amber Barrett sealed a big move in her soccer career with the news that the Milford woman has signed for German Bundesliga side FC Köln.  The 23-year-old Republic of Ireland senior striker is turning professional football and has landed a a two year deal with FC Köln.  In the middle of the month Finn Harps Academy Girls made history by winning the prestigious Antrim Rovers Summer Football Festival Finn Harps Plate competition. It was the first time ever that any female team representing Finn Harps has won an inter-club tournament.

Newtowncunningham man Joe Barr won his category (age 60-69) at RAAM (Race Across America). The elite endurance cyclist completed over 3000 miles (5000 kilometres) in just 11 days, 16 hours and 12 minutes. RAAM is reputed to be the world’s toughest endurance cycling race and this time it proved especially challenging in the extreme weather conditions. Barr was taking part in the event for the third time. Dunfanaghy Boxing Club Member Bernie McDonagh won the Irish Boys 452kg boxing title in Dublin to pick up his third All Ireland title by defeating Thomas McDonnell from Bray City ABC in a  final in the National Stadium in Dublin. The Twin Towns based VikingFit Club came home from the European Powerlifting Bench Press and Deadlift Championships in Limerick with 13 gold medals.

Oisin Orr’s fine form continues

It was a June to remember for Rathmullan jockey Oisin Orr who had winners in Tipperary, Navan,  Limerick, Gowran Park, Sligo, Ballinrobe and the Curragh. Oisin’s brother Conor had a winner in Wexford. Letterkenny jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle had a string of winners in June including a double at Loughrea, one on Ballybunnion Beach; four at the third meeting in the Northwest; five at Ballinagare Co Roscommon and five in  Shanahoe in Co Laois. That brought Dylan’s total to 30 for the season.

In the middle of the month Kilmacrennan motorcyclist Caolan Irwin finished in third place at Brands Hatch in a race where there was less than a second between the front runners in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. Caolan’s younger brother Rhys exceeded all expectations as he made his debut in the Dunlop Masters Supersport Championship at Mondello Park. Battling changing weather conditions and a field of much more experienced riders the 17-year-old old took a fantastic debut outright win as well as a hat trick of victories in the cup class for less experienced riders.

Another Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr moved into fifth place in the Dickies SuperSport championship in the British Superbike championship (BSB). Kerr, riding the Campbell Motorsport Triumph, qualified in 11th position for round 5 of the series at Brands Hatch. Then on the last day of June, Richard had his best weekend to date riding in the Supersport class at the British Superbike Championship (BSB) in Knockhill, Scotland. The result there now leaves him in sixth place place overall and just four points off fourth place.

In motorsport Declan and Brian Boyle were runners-up finishish 21.1 seconds behind the winner Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and co-driver Andy Hayes in the Limerick Circuit of Munster Rally, which was round four of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship. Letterkenny brothers Paul and Karl Reid returned to competitive motorsport with a two wheel drive victory. Declan Gallagher and Co-Driver Derek Heena won the Heartlands Rally in Laois in their Toyota Starlet. The Donegal crew were 1 minute 32.4 seconds ahead of fellow County men Mark Alcorn and John O’Donnell.

There was a good start to June for the Finesse Gymnastics Display Club as their Junior and Senior Display Teams won five out of the six possible awards at the National Indoor Arena in Blanchardstown, Dublin. And 13 members from the Finesse Club will represent Ireland at this year’s World Gynaestrada.

Young Inishowen rower Cormac McKinney won double gold at the Belfast Sprints event on the River Lagan. Representing the City of Derry Rowing Club, the 17-year-old from Bridgend was first in both the Open Club and Single Skulls races.

Finn Harps moved off the bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division with a 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey thanks to a goal either half from striker Nathan Boyle. Goals in either half from Nathan Boyle meant Harps swapped places with UCD who lost to Pat’s. Raymond Foy, a member of the Castlefin Celtic who won the Donegal Junior League Premier Division title, was named Player of the Year a the annual awards function in the Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny  The Donegal Masters suffered their first defeat of the campaign going down 2-16 to 3-8 to Tyrone in Killyclogher.  And there was also defeat for the Donegal Hurlers who went down 2-11 to 1-4 to London in the Christy Ring Cup relegation play-off in Crossmaglen which means Mickey McCann’s side will be playing in the Nicky Rackard Cup next season.  CYMS Club players Enda McMenamin and Robert Orr won the prestigious Creggan Veterans Pairs Open Tournament in Derry. McMenamin and Orr defeated Tracey’s Bar men Charlie Connaghan and Alan Healy 2-0 in the final.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or visit Facebook Donegalsport Starawards and Twitter @DLsportstars.

Donegal Sports Star Awards May Review

Mildford’s Brendan Boyce who his secured a place at next year’s Toyko Olympic Games.

The Donegal Sports Star Awards review of the sporting headlines for the month of May highlights a string of successes at national level and abroad.

On Sunday the 19th of May, a superb fifth place finish at the European Race Walking 50k Championships in Lithuania guaranteed Milford man Brendan Boyce his place at next year’s Toyko Olympic Games. The Finn Valley member also had the satisfaction of recording a new Personal Best time of 3 hours, 48 minutes and 13 seconds. Boyce will have the really special privilege of representing his country at an Olympics Games for a third time having also competed at the game in London (2012) and Rio (2016).  A week earlier his Finn Valley AC colleague James Kelly reached the European Junior Championship Qualifying standard in the Shot Put at the Donegal Senior Championships. The St. Johnston man threw 17.98m at the Finn Valley Centre.

On the national stage three Girls National Boxing titles came to Donegal in May. Raphoe ABC’s Leah Gallen was a unanimous decision winner in the ‘Girl 6’ 66kg final against Ryland’s Linda Desmond;

Brenda Collins of Dunree Boxing Club defeated Macy Cunningham of Crumlin 4-1 in the ‘Girl 4’ 45kg final and Illies Golden Gloves boxer Carlagh Irving got the better of Caitlyn O’Connor from Kilfenora ABC in the ‘Girl 3’ 47kg decider.

Meanwhile, there was cycling gold and a silver medal for Gweedore girl Clodagh Ni Ghallchoir at the Irish Track National Junior Championships on Dublin. 17-year-old Clodagh, a member of the AAA Cycling Club, took gold in the 500m TT and silver in the Sprints.

Ronan McLaughlin won the Shay Elliott Memorial Cycle Race for the second year in a row winning the event. The Muff man was the first cyclist to do so since the great Sean Kelly. McLaughlin had also won the North Pole Road Race on St. Patrick’s Day.

In the middle of May, Donegal GAA Ladies captain Karen Guthrie was named on the 2019 Division 1 Team of the Year after a super league campaign that saw the Castlefin woman score 3-34.  It was another good month for Donegal jockeys as Martin Harley made it three wins in Hong Kong. At Sha Tin, the Trentagh native was on board the Poon Fai Yiu trained Allied Agility in The Swaine Cup Handicap.

At home Rathmullan jockey Oisin Orr was in the winners enclosure twice in the space of five days. At Gowran Park he saddled 9/2 shot Dermot Weld trained Manqoosh in the BetVictor Bet Offer Median. Then Orr had a second winner, this time at a race meeting in Cork on the 10/1 shot Dermot Weld trained Brogue in the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF (C&G) Median. At the end of the month, Orr had another major win at Gowran Park on Anya Ylin in the Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel Fillies Maiden for trainer Dermot Weld.

The reigning Donegal Sports Star Horseracing Award winner Dylan Browne McMonagle made his intentions quite clear as he defends his 2018 championship title on the Pony Circuit when  racking up five winners at the first meeting of the season in Carrickadawson Raphoe.  Dylan followed up that success when he made the long round trip to County Tipperary and it was another fruitful journey as the 16-year-old jockey landed a treble at a sun drenched Kilbarron. Then on the last Sunday of May, the Browne-McMonagle bandwagon kept rolling on as he racked up another four timer at Carrickadawson Raphoe.

On the first weekend of the month, Richard Kerr turned up a super performance at the second round of the British Superbike Championship.  He qualified in 12th position for the Sprint race on the Sunday and ended up with an 8th place finish in Supersport class at BSB and a fantastic result for the small Campbell Motorsport team. Richard posted the ninth fastest lap and would start Race two from the third row of the grid in Monday’s second race. But the young Kilmacrennan man had to settle for 10th position overall and seventh in the Supersport class. At the end of May, Kerr had a bit of rollercoaster weekend at the third round of the Dickies Supersport Championship (BSB) in Donington Park. He came into the third round in fifth position. On the Saturday, Richard finished in a fantastic seventh place. In Race two, on the Sunday, the 19-year-old was in a very credible ninth position at the finish line. Richard is now in sixth overall in the championship.

Rhys and Caolán Irwin, the motorcycling brothers from Kilmacrennan both took very positive results away from the third round of the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park, as they both achieved their best results of the season. Younger brother Rhys put in his best British Talent Cup performance of the series, to take fourth place in the Saturday race one, having battled in the lead group throughout the race. Racing in Superstock 600 Caolán overcame handling problems in qualifying and a mechanical issue in the Sunday race, to pick up sixth place. Inishowen lad Calum Morris won the U14 title at the Ulster Enduro Championships in Newry, Co. Down. Morris was also first and Donegal Town’s Adam Voss third at the Irish Downhill Mountain Bike Championships at Bree, Wexford. In Motorsport Declan and Brian Boyle, in their Ford Fiesta, were second in the Cavan International Rally behind Sam Moffett and James Fulton.

Loughros Point Club member Patrick Boomer won the three senior events at the inaugural Ulster Indoor Rowing Championships hosted by the Donegal Bay Rowing Club.

On the first Friday of the month Seamus Coleman scored his 20th Premier Division goal for Everton in a win over Burnley at Goodison Park. Seamus Keogh a lad with strong Donegal family connections was captain of the Republic of Ireland U17 side in the UEFA European Championships and he was joined in the squad by Newtowncunningham’s Ronan McKinley. The Irish who drew their groups games missed out on qualification for the knockout stages. Keogh is with Southampton while McKinley is on the books of Derry City.

Convoy native and former Letterkenny Rovers player David Shovlin was a member of the winning Avondale Utd side in the FAI Intermediate Cup Final. Shovlin, who has been based in Cork for the past couple of years, helped his side defeat Crumlin Utd 1-0 at the Aviva Stadium in the final.  Two Inishowen girls Erin Fildara McLaughlin of Sea Rovers and Sion Swifts Kerry Anne Brown scored the third and fourth goals respectively in the 4-0 victory over Belgium as the Republic of Ireland Women’s U16s side got off to the perfect start in the UEFA Development Tournament in the Czech Republic. Having been 2-0 up at the break, McLaughlin put Ireland 3-0 up in the 49th minute, and Brown got number four on the 80th minute. Brown then captained the team and scored as did McLaughlin in the 4-1 win over hosts the Czech Republic.

Cockhill Celtic’s Peter Doherty played the full game at right back while Buncrana Hearts man Kieran McDaid came on as a sub for the Republic of Ireland amateurs who defeated Northern Ireland 3-2 in a tournament opener match in Jersey. An extra-time winning goal from Clara Gill saw Carndonagh Community School crowned FAI Schools First Year Girls National Cup champions, overcoming Presentation SS of Wexford 3-2 in the final played at Oriel Park in Dundalk. Ellie Long scored both of Carn’s goals as the two sides couldn’t be separated after normal time.

Creeslough man Shaun Stewart who was a 2018 Donegal Sports Star Recognition Award winner, was first home in the 55.5km WAAR challenge in the Rosses in a time of 2.17.42 with Milford AC’s Peter O’Donnell second (2.17.52) and third was Adam Speer (2.24.51). Siobhan Gallagher was the first woman home in a time of 2.42.48. On the May Bank Holiday Sunday Kilmacrennan native Eoghain McGinley was the winner of the 23rd North West Charity 10k. McGinley, in the colours of Letterkenny AC, took the title for the second time in three years, sprinting over the finish line in a time of  32 minutes and 57 seconds. That was 13 seconds ahead of Ramelton man Mark McPaul with the Finn Valley AC member clocking 33.10 for the 10k.  Maria McCambridge was the winner of the women’s category with a finishing time of 36.52 and it left the Dundrum South Dublin Athletic Club member 26th overall.

Tirconaill AC’s Kelly McGrory received great news when she was named on the Irish team for the European Games which take place in Minsk, Belarus from the 21st June. Kelly will compete in the 400m Hurdles. At the end of the month Finn Valley AC’s Dermot McGranaghan was named on the Irish coaching staff for the European Games which take place in Minsk, Belarus.

Sam and Chloe Magee and Rachel Darragh were members of the Ireland Badminton Team that lost 3-2 to Sri Lanka the Group 3 final of the Sudirman Cup in China. Sam and Chloe won the mixed doubles game. However, in the Men’s Doubles Sam and Nhat Nguyen lost 2-1. Then in the final match Rachel Darragh and Chloe Magee suffered a 2-1 defeat.

Na Dunaibh put themselves on course for a chance to win back-to-back All-Ireland Junior Gaeltacht Football titles after a three point County Final victory over Gweedore in Magheragallon on the May Bank Holiday Monday (1-9 to 1-6).  On the same Termon were crowned Donegal Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltachta County senior champions in Gweedore thanks to a 2-11 to 0-9 win over Glenfin. Geraldine McLaughlin hit 1-10 of her side’s total. In the senior men’s category Kilcar defeated Gaoth Dobhair in the Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta County Final (1-09 to 0-09).

The Donegal Minors had a 1-18 to 2-07 win over Cavan at Breffni Park to secure a place in the Ulster MFC Semi-final. On the last Sunday of May the Donegal U20s lost to Tyrone at Brewster Park, Enniskillen (2-18 to 2-9), signalling the end of Gary McDaid’s side’s interest in taking the Philly McGuinness Cup. On the same day, after almost a year out with a cruciate knee injury Paddy McBrearty made his return to competitive county action with an excellent five points for Donegal in their Ulster SFC quarter-final 0-15 to 0-5 win over Fermanagh at Brewster Park on Sunday.

In the middle of the month the Donegal Schools Golf Final in Dunfanaghy had dramatic finale as St. Eunan’s College captain Ronan Daly and teammate Christian Harris both birdied the 18th to seal the victory against Ghaoth Dobhair Pobailscoil.

Ghaoth Dobhair had the best individual score on the day with Cian Mc Bride on 43 points but St. Eunan’s team scores from James Sweeney, Adam Duncan, Ben Hopkins, James O’ Donnell and Ronan Coady won the day by 178 points to 174 points. The Donegal hurlers suffered a second defeat in the Christy Ring Cup Group 1. At Owenbeg, Mickey McCann’s men lost 0-20 to 1-14 to Derry.

Donegal Town Rugby Club stalwart Victor Kearney was named Ulster Club Volunteer of the Year at the sport’s annual awards held in Belfast. Letterkenny native Kieran O’Gorman captained the Leinster Junior Rugby side to Inter-Provincial success for the second year in a row.

There was a good start to May for Finn Harps who recorded their first win of the Premier Division campaign as a Caolan McAleer double and one from Nathan Boyle gave Ollie Horgan’s side a 3-0 victory over UCD in Ballybofey. And a week later Harps made it back-to-back wins and moved off the bottom of the Premier Division table after overcoming Waterford Utd 3-2 in Ballybofey with Mikey Place scoring twice while Sean Boyd grabbed the winner. However the month ended disappointingly with three defeats against Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Bohemians. However, Horgan’s outfit was a bit unlucky to miss out on a place in the EA Sports Cup semi-final place after a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Derry City.

Donegal men Gavin Mulreany and Aidan Friel were members of the Irish Defence Forces side that lost 2-1 to their UK counterparts at Richmond Park in Dublin. Donegal Town’s Jack Keaney produced a spectacular free-kick finish to give Sligo Rovers a super 2-1 win over Premier Division leaders Shamrock Rovers at the Showgrounds.  Ramelton Conrad Logan was in fine form for Mansfield who drew 1-1 at Newport County in a League Two promotion play-off.

Goalkeeper Logan saved a late penalty from fellow Irish man Padraig Amond but couldn’t stop the rebound finish from the same player which made it 1-1. But, there was to be misery for Logan’s side who lost 5-3 on penalties in the return leg to end the promotion dream.

Glencar Celtic won the Voodoo Venue Cup title after defeating Strand Rovers 3-1 in the final at Diamond Park, Ballyare.

Bonagee Utd were crowned Knockalla Caravans Cup champions after a 3-0 win over Glengad United at Maginn Park thanks to goals from Jordan Armstrong, Michael Doherty and Ryan Rainey.  Castlefin Celtic took the Donegal Junior League Premier Division title after a 5-0 win over Kildrum Tigers at Park View.

Despite putting in a big performance the Donegal Schoolboys suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in the U12s Inter-League Final against Cork  in Mullingar. Jonnie McGroarty’s side were up against a physically stronger side but it was still 0-0 on 85 minutes when Cork grabbed what turned out to be the winner.

Milford woman Amber Barrett scored twice which included the winner as her team Peamount Utd overcame Galway Utd to remain clear leaders of the Women’s National League.

On the last Sunday of May sub Adam Neely proved to be the Keadue Rovers hero as has his superb 71st minute strike secured the Brian McCormick Cup title in. 2-1 win for the Rosses outfit in a closely contested final against Milford Utd in Ballyare. The sides were level at the break after Kyle Black had given Milford a 36th minute lead but that advantage was cancelled out almost immediately by a Corey Gallagher equaliser. On the same day Greencastle F.C. completed a domestic quadruple of title triumphs with a 3-1 win over Cockhill Youths in the Buncrana Credit Union Cup Final.

Ramelton woman Monica Grier was honoured for her services to the Special Olympics movement. Monica received a Special Olympics Ireland Commemorative Volunteer Pin, in the post, to mark over 25 years with the organisation. Monica who is based at the Community Centre in Letterkenny has made a huge contribution to coaching sport, especially gymnastics.  Early in the month there was huge disappointment for St Columba’s College, Stranorlar who were beaten 4-2 on penalties by Dublin’s St Aidan’s CBS from Whitehall in the FAI Schools Minor Boys U15 National Cup Final in Monaghan. It was 1-1 at the end of normal and extra time with Callum Gillen the scorer for the Twin Towns school. It was a similar downer for Mulroy College as they lost  2-0 to Co. Wexford school New Ross in the National First Year Girls B  final at the Home Farm grounds in Dublin.

For more information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go www.donegalsportsstarawards.ie. Or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Donegal Sports Star Awards April Review

Letterkeeny AC’s NIkita Burke who was first home in the women’s category at the Queen’s Race Around the River 5k in Belfast in a time of 16 minutes 50 seconds

 

April sporting successes for Donegal

There was plenty of sporting success for Donegal in April with super achievements in athletics, equestrian, motorpsort, soccer, surfing and horse riding. The Donegal Sports Star Awards April Review looks at the local, provincial, national and international highlights from the month.

In athletics Letterkenny AC’s Nakita Burke was first home in the women’s category at the Queen’s Race Around the River 5k in Belfast in a time of 16 minutes 50 seconds. Milford man Brendan Boyce recorded a Personal Best of 1:24:31 in a 20k Walk Race in Podebrandy in the Czech Republic. In the middle of the month Lifford-Strabane AC member Claire McGuigan won gold in the National AAI 10k Road Championship race in Dublin.

On the first day of April there was a silver medal for Lifford/Strabane AC’s Diarmaid O’Donnell in the 60m Hurdles at the All-Ireland Indoors in Athlone and it was bronze for his club colleague Adrienne Gallen in the Girls U-16 Shot Putt.

Glenswilly woman Mary Devine, on Kingsman, was a winner and runner-up in two events at the Dressage Ireland National Championships in the Cavan Equestrian Centre. It meant that Devine finished second overall following the two days of competition.  There were more celebrations for Letterkenny Blaze Basketball when the Club’s U-16 girls team won the the National Division B title. Just a fortnight previously the Blaze U14s  brought home a first ever national title for the Club after winning the All-Ireland B title. The Letterkenny girls won two and lost one of their three group matches on the Saturday in Gormanston, Co. Meath. In the semi-finals on Sunday, Blaze defeated St. Colm’s of Kerry 41-33. Their opponents in the decider was Maree BC from Galway who had beaten Blaze in the group phase on Saturday.

Blaze  won the final 46-41.

Coaliste Ailigh Letterkenny won the FAI Schools Minor B U15 Final with a 2-1 win over Ramsgage CS in Drogheda. Managed by Finn Harps captain Keith Cowan, Coaliste Ailigh came from behind to take the title thanks to an equaliser from Aoibhinn Ni Chonaill and then a winner from Erin Ni Dhochartaigh.  PCC Falcarragh retained the National U15 Minor B Boys title after a 2-1 victory over Ghlor na Mara, Balbriggan. It was a super team performance from PCC who took the lead through Jamie Brennan in the 12th minute. But the Balbriggan boys were back on level terms on 38 minutes.

Daire Ferry the proved to be the PCC match winning hero in extra time.

Ellie Long of Carndonagh Community School and Emma Doherty from Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana were on the Republic of Ireland Schools U15 side that retained the Bob Docherty Cup in Spain with a 4-1 win over Gibraltar. Both girls featured in the round robin series of games which included a win over Scotland and a draw against England. On her debut Doherty scored the opener in the 2-1 win over the Scots.

In horseriding Martin Harley recorded his third win in Hong Kong in the Shek Kip Mei Handicap on the 29/1 shot General Iron. Rathmullan jockey Oisin Orr had a good April. He took a huge step forward in his career with a 36/1 double for trainer Dermot Weld at Leopardstown. The Rathmullan’s man first win was on 3/1 shot Imaging in the Heritage Stakes. And that was followed by victory on Titanium Sky at 8/1 win in the Fillies Maiden.

The excellent form for Orr continued with wins at race meetings in Naas and Dundalk. On the Saturday, Oisin rode Imaging to victory in the group 3 Gladness Stakes at Nass. The Dermot Weld horse came across the finish line at 7/2. At the start of April, Imaging had given Orr his first listed win at Leopardstown. On the Sunday, Oisin followed up his Naas success with his second win of the weekend on the Noel C Kelly trained 11/8 ‘Wild Shot’.  Orr then enjoyed success in Cork with a winner on the Dermot Weld trained 7/2 favourite Georgeville in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden.

There was two surfing gold medals for Creeslough girl Bea Greenberg at the TBay Junior Championships held in Tramore, Waterford. Bea took gold in the U16 Open Division and she did it again in the U18 Longboard Section.  There was success for Donegal at the Ulster Badminton Inter-League Competitions as they successfully defended the Todd Trophy and the Gilbert Cup title  In boxing

there were Ulster Boxing Boy titles for Dunfanaghy Club members Luke Kelly who won the Boy 1 43kg and Anthony Doohan in the Boy 2 62kg Class. In the middle of the month Dungloe man Shaun Sharkey successful defended his Donegal Singles pool title. It was his fourth consecutive year to take the title and his 5th in total. Helena Sharkey was the winner of the inaugural Ladies Singles event

Young Inishowen Wheelers Club member Calum Morris won the U14 category at the Mountain Bike Championships in Co. Louth.

The Donegal U16s, managed by Luke Barrett booked their place in the Buncrana Cup final thanks to a 4-11 to 4-4 win over Cavan in Convoy on Saturday. Donegal will take on Derry in final on this Saturday in Buncrana (throw-in 12 noon). Meanwhile, the Donegal U-17s returned to winning ways with a big 14-point victory over Cavan on Saturday at MacCumhaill Park (3-13 to 0-8).  Three Gweedore men Odhran McFadden-Ferry, Odhran MacNiallais and Kevin Cassidy were named on the GAA Club Players’ ‘Team of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in Croke Park. Cassidy was also one of the three names listed for the ‘Player of the Year’ award.

Despite a nine-point defeat against Galway in Corofin, the Donegal senior ladies had already guaranteed themselves a place in Division 1 semi-finals. Following the last league game of the campaign, Maxi Curran’s side actually finished up fourth in the table but only by virtue of an inferior score difference compared to Cork and Dublin who finished second and third respectively in Division 1. There was disappointment for the Donegal U16 side who lost to Derry in the Buncrana Cup Final by 1-07 to 0-07. Luke Barrett’s boys  trailed Derry by three points at the break (0-05 to 0-02). The Donegal Minors lost to Tyrone in the first round of the Ulster Football Championship going 1-12 to 1-8 to Tyrone at McCumhaill Park

Donegal senior footballer Michael Langan was rewarded for his outstanding performances for Letterkenny IT with an Electric Ireland Higher Education GAA Rising Star Award. The St. Michael’s man was ‘Man of the Match’ in the Trench Cup Final which was won by the Michael Murphy managed LYIT back in February down in Mallow. Langan was the only player from that winning squad to be honoured with the prestigious Rising Star Award.

The Donegal Ladies dreams of a National League Final were well and truly buried by Galway at Pearse Park in Longford. Despite the return of Geraldine McLaughlin, Treasa Doherty and Katie Herron the Maxi Curran managed side played second fiddle to the Tribeswomen for almost all of the semi-final. It ended Galway 1-12 Donegal 1-5.

In early April the Raphoe Senior Ladies ended their league season with a 2-2 draw away at Portadown. Raphoe had already been promoted to the Premier Division after going through the campaign unbeaten.

In Mixed Martial Arts, Kildrum man Matthew Friel became the Akuma Fighting Championship Flyweight for the first time after defeating Ciaran Mulholland. Friel is a member of the Kombat Jujtsu Club in Derry.

There was a very nice start to the motorcycling season for Kilmacrennan’s Caolan Irwin who picked up three wins at the weekend during the the Masters event at Mondello Park.  Kilmacrennan Motorcycle Racing brothers, Rhys and Caolán Irwin, both made impressive starts to their 2019 campaigns at the opening rounds of the British Superbike Championship In Silverstone, UK. Another Kilmacrennan ls Richard Kerr was in fine form in the opening round of the Dickies Supersport BSB championship at Silverstone with a 7th place in Saturday’s Sprint race and on Sunday and he celebrated his 19th birthday by finishing in 8th position.

On the last Sunday in May, Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley won the Monaghan Rally in a Ford Focus WRC after holding of strong challenge from local driver Josh Moffett also in a Ford Focus WRC.

After a very difficult start to the Premier Division  league season Finn Harps finally got a bit of joy against Northwest neighbours Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup with an extra-time victory in Ballybofey. And it was a fairytale start for Stephen Doherty in his first ever appearance in a competitive game for Finn Harps as the U19 player got the winner.

Meanwhile, Finn Harps player Luke McGlynn was a member of the Republic of Ireland U15 side that secured an impressive 1-0 victory in their international friendly against Czech Republic.

Inishowen girls Kerry Brown and Erin McLaughlin were members of the Republic of Ireland U16 squad who drew twice with Belgium.

After consecutive defeats during the month against Derry City, Bohemians, Dundalk and St. Patrick’s Athletic, Finn Harps were denied a first win of the season by a late Sligo Rovers penalty as Ollie Horgan’s side had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds. Ollie Horgan’s side then secured an important 1-1 draw against Cork City at Turners Cross thanks to Keith Cowan’s 76th minute equaliser.

On the first Sunday of April, Bonagee Utd won the Donegal Junior League First Division title after a draw against Gweedore Celtic and were promoted to the Premier along with Cranford F.C. who defeated Lagan Harps. Letterbarrow F.C. finished runners-up in Division 2 and also secured promotion. Carndonagh were promoted to the Inishowen Junior League Premier Division. There was big disappointment for Glengad F.C. who lost their New Balance Junior Cup semi final 2-0 away against St.Michael’s of Tipperary

St. Johnston woman Tyler Toland started and Milford’s Amber Barrett came off the bench as the Republic of Ireland senior women from lost 2-1 to Italy in an international friendly played at the Mapei Stadium. Greencastle FC won the Clubman Shirts Cup Final thanks to a 3-0 win over Carn FC at Maginn Park. And also in the middle of the month the Donegal U12 Schoolboys advanced to the National Semi-finals after a penalty shoot-out win over Sligo-Leitrim. The two sides had ended up at 3-3 following extra-time.  At the end of April, the Donegal U12 Boys squad also won the Sligo Super Cup after a penalty shootout success over the DDSL. The decider had ended 1-1 after extra-time with Carragher Friel getting the Donegal equaliser. Johnnie McGroarty’s boys had beaten Mayo, Derby County and Aberdeen on their way to the final. Buncrana Hearts player Leah McDaid was a member of the Republic of Ireland U19s squad for the European Qualifier Games in Norway.

Cockhill Celtic won their seventh successive Ulster Senior League title following a 2-0 win over Finn Harps Reserves thanks to goals from Peter Doherty and Gerry Gill. Glengad Utd qualified for the first round proper of the FAI Senior Cup after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Home Farm. Home keeper Kevin McLaughlin saved two spot-kick while Dylan Ruddy proved to be the ultimate Glengad hero by putting away the deciding penalty. St. Johnston man Shane McGinty grabbed a late winner as Ballymena Utd secured European qualification in a thrilling 4-3 win over fellow contenders Glenavon.

Fellow St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis was named Portsmouth’s Young Player of the Year at the Club’s annual awards function after scoring 12 goals in his first season with Pompey and he was also a member of the team that won the Checkatrade EFL Trophy at Wembley. Curtis had also been named the U21 International Player at the FAI Awards in March. On the last Saturday in April, Strand Celtic took the Saturday League One title with a 5-0 win over Oldtown Celtic. There was Ulster Shield success for Arranmore Utd as they defeated Cockhill Celtic Youths 3-1 after extra-time.

Letterkenny Rovers denied Cockhill Celtc a seventh league and cup double as Eamonn McConigley’s side won the Donegal News League Cup Final  3-1 with B.J. Banda the match winner with two goals after Cocklhill had come back to make it 1-1. Nigel McMonagle was match winner as Greencastle in the 1-0 Ulster Junior Cup win over Glengad.

Illies Reserves landed the Inishowen Division 2 B title thanks to a 5-4 win over  Rasheney Reserves.  Greencastle completed the treble by winning the Inishowen Premier Division after fellow title contenders Glengad could only draw 1-1 with Carn. The Greeks had already won the Ulster Cup and Clubman Shirts Cup.

Finn Harps underage player Fionnan Coyle was in the starting 11 for the Republic of Ireland side who made it two wins out of two with a 3-0 victory over Fiji in the UEFA Development Tournament in Israel. There was a national title for the Junior Loreto Letterkenny Convent basketball team who won an All -Ireland “A” Final in Dublin.  A First Year Girls team from Coláiste na Carraige secured a place in the All-Ireland Basketball semi-final at the National Arena in Tallaght. The girls put in tremendous series of performances in a four team play-off in Glenamaddy, Co Galway with wins over St. Leo’s, Carlow 34-30, Loreto Cavan 42-25 and Glenamaddy CS 22-9. Ciaran Dalton and Jamie Harris scored the goals to help St Columba’s College, Stranorlar secure a place the National 15 Schools Final. It was a 2-0 win over St. Columba’s against Rice College in the semi final.

Four Donegal boys Daragh Ellison, Corey McBride, Jack Doherty and Lee McLaughlin were members of the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys side who finished their Centenary Shield campaign with a  5-3 win over Wales at the Home Farm Complex in Dublin. Ellison and McBride both scored in the Welsh win while another Donegal link was William O’Connor who was manager of the ROI Schoolboys squad this season. Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan was a member of the backroom team while Mickey McGlynn was the physio. At the national finals of the Primary Schools Sportshall athletics Gaelscoil Adhamhnain, Letterkenny won the title in the 3rd and 4th class boys section while Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Letterkenny were first in the 5th and 6th class girls category at the Athlone Indoor Arena.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or visit Facebook Donegalsport Starawards and Twitter @DLsportstars.

Donegal Sports Star Awards March Review

Brendan O’Donnell, Lifford AC who set a new Irish Hammer Throw record of 60.45m at the Dunboyne Winter Throws Meet in Meath at the start of March.

 

Memorable March for Donegal Sports Stars

Successes in athletics, boxing, gymnastics, horseracing, GAA, hockey and soccer all feature in the Donegal Sports Star Awards March Review. Letterkenny man Mark English won a Bronze Medal in the Men’s 800m at the European Indoors Championships in Glasgow. The UCD medical student’s time was 1.47.39. The final was won by Álvaro de Arriba from Spain who clocked 1.46.83 and the Silver medal went to Great Britain’s Jamie Webb (1.47.13). English had a rollercoaster weekend after finishing fifth in the semi-final after being impeded, but was subsequently put through following an appeal. It was his third European Championships medal after taking a bronze outdoors in Zurich in 2014 and a silver indoors in Prague 2015.

On St. Patrick’s Day Milford’s Brendan Boyce finished 8th at the Lugano Trophy in Switzerland in a time of 1:27:32. It was a good week for Finn Valley at the World Masters Championships in Poland where Mark Connolly was a Gold medal winner as part of the Irish team in the 8k Cross-Country event. The Aghyaran man finished 19th overall in the race. And later in the day, Mark’s club colleague Kay Byrne finished 5th in the 8k Women’s Cross Country which helped Ireland to a Bronze team medal in the 50-55 Masters age category. And another Finn Valley AC member Noreen Bonner won a Bronze individual medal in the World Half Marathon in Poland in the O-60 category. Noreen was also first Irish lady across the finish line and that led to a team gold medal for her country.

On the first Saturday in March, Lifford/Strabane AC’s Brendan O’Donnell set a new Irish Hammer Throw record of 60.45m at the Dunboyne Winter Throws Meet in Meath. The previous record was 58.71m.

Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Nakita Burke’s exceptional form continued when she was the third woman home in an ultra competitive Titanic Quarter 10K in Belfast. Nakita’s time of 34.33 represented a PB of 19 seconds. The talented Glenswilly lad Sean McGinley won the U17 1,500m at the National Indoor Championships in Athlone in a time of 4.07.51.

Twin Towns boxer Jason Quigley also hit the headlines in March as he maintained his 100% winning record in the professional ranks by defeating Finnish opponent Mathias Eklund on his first competitive appearance at a UK venue. At the Copper Box Arena in London, Quigley made it 16 wins when he stopped Eklund in the second round. On the national stage there were Irish titles for Donegal boxers Bryan McNamee (Convoy) and Danny Boyle (Dungloe) both students at Letterkenny IT and DCU’s Kieran McCole (Dungloe) at the National Colleges Championships in Dublin.

On the global stage, Letterkenny man Patrick Quinlivan was celebrating after winning an amazing seven gymnastic medals on St Patrick’s Day at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. The 36-year-old won two gold and five silver medals in huge success story for Team Ireland. The Letterkenny Community Centre man won gold in the pommel horse and as all-round male. Letterkenny swimmer Anna Hennessey took a gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the Swim Ulster Open Disability Championships in Newry

Ramelton man Patrick Bond won a bronze 100m Breastroke medal at the Ice Swimming World Championship which was held in Murmansk, Russia in the 40-45 age-group category

Early in the month Martin Harley won his first race in Hong Kong on the Anthony T Millard trained High Five who was an incredible 87/1 shot in the Fenwick Handicap at Happy Valley. And on the last day of March Harley won his second race in Hong Kong at the Sha Tin course on Indigenous Star at 5/1 in the Kat O Hoi Handicap for Trainer PF Yiu. The Raphoe Ladies Hockey side clinched the Ulster Hockey Senior 1 League title thanks to a 1-1 draw against CI Ladies with two games left to play.

It was a month to remember for St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis who was named U21 Player of the Year at the FAI Awards in Dublin. Curtis was also a member of the Portsmouth side that won the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time at Wembley. Pompey came from behind to force extra-time and then took the lead but it 2-2 and so the decider wen to penalties where Portsmouth came out on top 5-4.

It was also a memorable March for two Inishowen secondary schools. On the first Monday of March, Moville Community College were crowned FAI Schools Senior Girls National Champions after a 4-0 win over Athlone C.C with Kerry Brown scoring twice while Megan Havlin, and Niamh McDonald also found the back of the net. Then Carndonagh Community School made it back-to-back FAI Schools Dr Tony O’Neill National Senior Cup Boys’ titles and it was a third time in four years to triumph thanks to a 1-0 win over Midleton CBS of Cork at Home Farm FC, Whitehall, Dublin. The match winner was Jack Doherty with an 82nd minute header.

At the end of month three of those Carn players Doherty, Corey McBride and Lee McLaughlin, along with St. Eunan’s College’s Darragh Ellison, were members of the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys who started their International Centenary Shield campaign with a 1-1 draw against Scotland at Somerset Park in Ayr. McBride, McLaughlin and Ellison all started while Doherty came on as a sub. The team was managed by Finn Harps coach William O’Connor while Ollie Horgan was a member of the backroom team along with Milford based physio Mickey McGlynn. St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland setup the winner for the Republic of Ireland women’s side who had a a 1-o win over Wales in an international friendly. Milford’s Amber Barrett was introduced for the closing ten’s minutes.

Just a season after relegation the Donegal senior footballers were back in Division 1 of the National League following a convincing 13-point win over Kildare in Ballyshannon (1-20 to 0-10).  Six days later Declan Bonner delivered a second piece of silverware for the Donegal GAA trophy cabinet inside a year after his side staged a super second half turnaround at Croke Park to claim the Division 2 league trophy with a 1-17 to 1-15 win over Meath. On the same day three Gweedore players Odhran McFadden-Ferry, Odhran McNiallais and Kevin Cassidy were named on the Club Championship ‘Team of the Year’.

In the middle of March three Letterkenny IT girls Aoife McColgan, Aisling Nee and Clare native Emma McMahon were named on the GFP Rising Stars team for 2019 in recognition of their impressive performances during the Ladies Higher Education Finals weekend in Dublin. And another trio of Donegal girls Lauren Carr (Loreto CS, Milford & Gaeil Fhánada), Bronagh Gallagher (St. Columba’s CS, Glenties & Naomh Conaill) & Julie Trearty (Loreto CS, Milford & Downings) were named on the Ulster Ladies Schools All Star Awards 2019.

 

March was also good for Donegal basketball as Letterkenny Blaze won the U14 Girls All Ireland Club Championship Division B title in Gormanstown. And the Mulroy Hoops Basketball Girls U14s squad won the All Ireland Club Championship Division C title in Gormanstown.

There were seven medals for Rosses AC at the All-Ireland Indoor Masters Championships in Athlone. Aidan Gillespie won three gold in High Jump, Long Jump and 60m Hurdles; Joe Joyce took gold in the Shot Putt and silver in the in Weight for Distance while there was a silver and bronze for Nicole O’Donnell in the 60m and 200m respectively. In Badminton defending champions Donegal won the Gilbert Cup Ulster Inter-League Badminton competition in Lisburn

A boys team from Raphoe Central National School defeated Banteer N.S. from Cork In the All-Ireland Primary Schools Badminton Final in Dublin

In Bowling John Quinn, Ballylennon, chalked up his fifth win in Donegal tournaments when he overcame a spirited effort from Stanley Browne, Ardstraw, in the Scott Shield Charity Final in Laghey. Ardara man Ronan Whyte won his first two matches in the snooker qualifying stages at the Gibraltar Open which put him through to the last 64 of the competition. On the first Sunday in March, Four Masters Cycling Club member Mitchell McLaughlin won the Cycleways GP As event in Navan on the opening weekend of the 2019 cycling season

The Donegal Ladies’ maintained their super winning run as they qualified for the Ladies National Football League Division 1 semi-finals after a 3-11 to 3-09 win over Tipperary. The goal scorers for Maxi Curran’s side were Karen Guthrie and the Termon duo of Roisin Friel and Geraldine McLaughlin. There was a big disappointment for the Letterkenny IT Ladies who lost the GAA Moynihan Cup Final in Dublin after having led by five points at the interval against Dundalk IT who won the decider in injury time by a point (DKIT 2-11 LYIT 1-13).

In Greyhound Racing, brothers Adrian and Cathal McGee from Lifford the owner and trainer of were celebrating after their dog Ardnasool Jet was named ‘Sprinter of the Year’ at the 2018 National Greyhound Racing Awards. The news wasn’t so good for the Donegal Senior Hurlers who will be playing in Division 3A next year after losing to Warwickshire in the National League Division 2B Relegation playoff  (2-10 v 0-14) at Pearse Park, Longford. The Three Rivers Shotokan Karate Club won three gold, four silver and two bronze medals at IKKU Open in Dublin. Letterkenny man Joe Dunleavy was included in the Ulster A squad for the Cara Cup in the USA

It was far from a memorable month for Finn Harps who lost five times, leaving Ollie Horgan’s side with just two points on the Premier Division table.

Finn Harps underage player Luke McGlynn was a member of the Republic of Ireland U15 side that secured a 1-1 draw against Cyprus in an international friendly at the Sofira Municipal Stadium. The Letterkenny Rovers U16s secured their place in the semi-final of the National Cup after 2-0 win over Bohemians in Dublin. And on Sunday the 10th of March there was a great result for Glengad FC who reached the Semi-finals of the FAI Junior Cup after a 3-1 win over Clonmel Town down in Tipperary.

There was good news for the Letterkenny Rovers Club after their central defender Conor Tourish was nominated for the FAI Intermediate Player of the Year. Buncrana man Kieran McDaid played his part as Carlow IT won the national Rustlers Cup Final by defeating the University of Limerick 3-2 in the decider.  A milestone was marked in the career of Seamus Coleman who made his 50th appearance for the Republic of Ireland in their Euro 2020 qualifiers opener with a 1-0 win away to Gibraltar in Group D. The following Tuesday Coleman also captained the Republic of Ireland to a a 1-0 win over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium, putting Mick McCarthy’s men top of their Euro 2020 qualification group thanks to a first half Conor Hourihane goal.

The Kerrykeel 71 Club won the Donegal Junior League Division 2 title after overcoming Deele Harps 5-2 at Rabs Park. Inishowen girl Erin McLaughlin won her second Republic of Ireland U17 cap after coming on as a sub in the Elite Qualifying Round game against Germany in Edinburgh. Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny’s U15 girls soccer team reached their first ever All-Ireland soccer final following a 3-2 semi-final victory over St Patrick’s College, Lacken Cross, Co Mayo at Ray MacSharry Park, Sligo. The CA girls went behind twice but goals from Erin Ní Dhochartaigh and Aobha Ní Aragáin brought the game to extra-time. And team captain, Clodagh Ní Shioráin scored the all important winner.

At the end of the month there was despair for Rosses Community School who suffered a 1-0 defeat by Lucan CBS at Ray McSharry Park in Sligo in the FAI Tom Ticher U17 National Junior Cup Final. Despite the Dublin school having a player sent-off early in the game the Rosses boys couldn’t capitalise with the winning goal coming in the 60th minute of the decider.

For more information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go www.donegalsportsstarawards.ie. Or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Donegal Sports Star Awards February Review

Sommer Lecky and Mark English

Fabulous February for Donegal sport

There were plenty of sporting headlines in the Donegal Sports Star Awards February review with fabulous achievements in athletics, badminton, GAA, golf and soccer.

It was a good month for two former Overall Donegal Sports Star Awards winners Sommer Lecky and Mark English. Lecky won the high-jump with a 1.84m leap in Belgium at the IFAM European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting. At the same event English recorded a time of 1.48.66 to win the 800m Final.

In the middle of February English won the 800m at the International Indoor Grand Prix event at the Athlone Arena in a time of 1.46.94. Four days later the Letterkenny man took a sixth National Senior Indoor 800m title in Abbottstown in a time of 1:51.77 just edging out Zak Curran (Dundrum South Dublin AC) by 0.14 of a second ahead. As a result English was named on the Irish team for the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow.

At the same Senior Championships Finn Valley AC’s Lecky won Gold in the High Jump with a 1.86m jump, equalling the Irish U23 & Junior record. As a result she too was named on the Irish team for the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow at the start of March. Also in Abbottstown there was a silver medal for Lecky’s club colleagues Brendan Boyce in the 5k walk in in a time of 20.16 and Lauren Callaghan won silver in the Triple Jump while Tír Chonaill AC’s Geraldine Stewart took Bronze in the Shot Put with a throw of 11.76m. Letterkenny AC’s Nikita Burke ran 9.33 and was the fastest of the Irish four-member team who finished third at the Armagh Races. In Barcelona, Letterkenny AC’s Anne Marie McGlynn set a new Donegal record time of 71.59 in the half-marathon.

On the first Saturday in February, Sam and Chloe Magee won the Irish Mixed Doubles for the 11th time in 12 years after overcoming their niece Rachel Darragh and Paul Reynolds in the final (21-14, 22-20). The Magee siblings followed that up by advancing in the Barcelona Masters Tournament after a straight two-sets 21-15, 21-18 win over their Danish opponents. There was a marvellous national success for young Gaoth Dobhair golfer Padraig O’Dochartaigh who won the Irish U-15 Junior Open golf competition at Portmarnock Links Golf Club in a 2 over par. He took the Irish title with two shots to spare in a field of over 70 golfers.

In the middle of the month Letterkenny IT won the Trench Cup after coming from behind to defeat Dundalk IT by 0-15 to 2-07 in the final played in Mallow. Co Cork with Michael Langan being named ‘Man-of-the-Match’.  St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis scored the third goal as his Portsmouth side booked their place in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy which will take place at Wembley following a 3-0 win over Bury. Three Donegal girls captain Eimear Lafferty (Redcastle) Caoimhe Walsh (Kerrykeel), Emer Gillen (Greencastle) were members of the Maynooth side that won the Third Level Women’s Premier League thanks to a 2-1 win over IT Carlow in Athlone.

On the last day of February three Donegal players Milford’s Rory O’Donnell and Buncrana boys Aaron McDaid and Mark McFadden started for the Republic of Ireland U18 Home Based side which landed the John Coughlan Cup in Wexham after two games against the host Wales. The Irish had a 1-0 win the first game and then it was a 3-2 victory in the second match. McDaid scored the winner while O’Donnell was named man of the match. St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland started for the Republic of Ireland Women’s team while Amber Barrett from Milford played the final half-hour in Marbella in a friendly fixture that ended 0-0 against Wales.

Ballybofey native Laura Feely started for the Irish Senior Women’s team who suffered a heavy 51-7 defeat at the hands of England in a Six National opener at Donnybrook. But, a week later Feely was on a winning Ireland side, playing 66 minutes in the bonus point 22-5 Six Nations away win over Scotland.

The Donegal Ladies made a dream start to their Division 1 League campaign with a 1-11 to 1-07 win over All-Ireland and National Football League champions Dublin in Croke Park. Player of the Match Karen Guthrie got the Donegal goal early in the first half. Eight days later Maxi Curran’s side made it back-to-back league wins by overcoming Mayo 3-10 to 2-07 in Convoy. Glenfin woman Yvonne Bonner’s goal wasn’t enough to give her Greater Western Sydney Giants a victory in her debut AFLW game. The Giants lost 29-27. Bonner was then named on the ‘Team of the Week’ after scoring a super goal for the Giants but it was defeat again 65-34 to the Carlton Blues.

The Donegal men made it back-to-back wins in Division Two of the National Football League, overcoming Meath on a final score of 1-13 to 0-14. Caolan McGonagle’s goal eighth minutes from the end of normal time proved to be the game’s defining moment at a time when Declan Bonner’s outfit was four points behind the visitors. Eight days later Donegal suffered their first defeat of the Division 1 league campaign going down to Tipperary at Semple Stadium on a final score of 3-09 to 0-13.

Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny took the Ulster Ladies U20 Schools Championship title thanks to a 6-8 to 2-7 win over Thornhill College of Derry at the Melvin Sports Complex in Strabane. Shannon Ní Chuinneagaáin had a personal tally of 2-4 while Laoise Ní Riain scored two goals. In the middle of February – St Columb’s Derry defeated Abbey Vocational School 2-11 to 3-5 at the O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny in the Ulster Schools Markey Cup Final. Gaoth Dobhair’s dream of making a first ever All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship Final ended at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-On-Shannon as Mervyn O’Donnell’s men lost 2-13 to 1-12 against reigning title holders Corofin defeated.

The Letterkenny IT Ladies booked their place in the national Moynihan Cup semi-final thanks to a 2-15 to 1-6 victory over Mary Immaculate College of Limerick at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Mayo with the goals coming from Zoe McGlynn and Emma McMahon. Dungloe man Shaun Sharkey was a beaten finalists at the European 8 Ball Championships in Killarney. Sharkey lost out to Northern Ireland’s Dylan O’Leary in the decider.

There was disappointment for the Donegal Junior League who made their Oscar Traynor Trophy exit after losing out on penalties to Limerick at the Gweedore Celtic grounds An Screaban. Limerick won 5-3 winners in the shootout after having taken the lead early in the second half. Ronan McHugh equalised for Donegal in the 58th minute. The women’s LYIT soccer team had a 1-0 cup win at Abbottstown over Cork IT courtesy of a Lauren Creggan who scored the game’s only goal. But, the men’s team lost their Rustlers CFAI Cup quartet-final tie 4-1 against GMIT at the Port Road Campus with goal coming from Finn Harps player Liam Walsh.

Mulroy College Milford and Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny suffered defeats in national cup competitions. Mulroy lost by the narrowest of margins 1-0 in the Senior B Girls National Cup Final to St. Laurence College of Loughlinstown Dublin at United Park in Drogheda. Coláiste Ailigh went down 4-1 to St Clare’s of Manorhamilton in the semi final of the Junior B National Cup. But, there was better news for Moville Community College who booked their place in the FAI Schools Senior Girls National Cup Final for the second successive year after a 4-1 win over Ursuline College Sligo at the Curragh in Killygordon thanks to goals from Kate McClenaghan, Niamh McDonald, Megan Havlin and Bronagh McGuinness.

There was double disappointment for the LYIT in the knockout stages of national soccer competitions. First the the men lost to NUI Galway in their league quarter final. Then in the semi final of the CUFL Premier Division the ladies were beaten 4-0 by IT Carlow. In the middle of February Culdaff girl Erin McLaughlin was named in the Republic of Ireland Women’s U17 squad for a friendly double-header against Iceland next week.

The Raphoe Ladies went top of the Senior 1 League after a 3-0 win over Caste at the Royal & Prior School thanks to second half goals from Wendy Patterson who scored twice and one from Leanne Patterson

On the second Saturday of the month the Letterkenny First XV rugby side had a 28-21 win over Newry at the Glebe to extend their winning run to six games. Illies Golden Gloves Club woman Donna Barr secured her place in the semi-finals of the Light Featherweight National Elite Championships with a unanimous win at the National Stadium

Finn Harps player Luke McGlynn was one of the penalty scorers after the Republic of Ireland U15s drew 2-2 with the Netherlands in the second match of their International Tournament in Spain’s Pinatar Arena on Friday. However, it was the Dutch who won the developmental penalty shoot-out 4-2. McGlynn came on as a 52nd minute substitute while another Harps player Conor Campbell was also in the Irish squad. Both players had started in the 1-1 draw with the hosts Spain in a previous game.

Two more young Harps players Michael Gallagher and Niall McGinley took part in a Republic of Ireland U19 training camp. Meanwhile, another Harps player Sam Todd was a late sub for an Irish U21 Home Based squad who played the Irish Amateur team. Also coming on as a sub for the U21s was Donegal Town lad Jack Keaney who plays with Sligo Rovers and Letterkenny Rovers central defender Conor Tourish was introduced from the bench for the Amateur side

Finn Harps lost 1-0 in their Premier Division opener against Bohemians at Dalymount Park. The game’s only goal was scored by Dinny Corcoran four minutes before the break. On the same night Donegal Town lad Jack Keaney put Sligo Rovers ahead in their Premier Division opener against reigning champions Dundalk at Oriel Park but the hosts came back to earn a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Goalkeeper Ed McGinty also produced a super performance in goals. A week later Ollie Horgan’s side produced a huge performance to secure a 1-1 Premier Division draw against the 2018 double champions Dundalk in Ballybofey. Keith Cowan put Harps in front just before the break but Dundalk drew level on 70 minutes through Brian Gartland. That was followed with Harps securing a useful 0-0 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.

For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or visit Facebook Donegalsport Starawards and Twitter @DLsportstars.

Donegal Library Service, the perfect fit for an avid reader says Maureen.

Maureen Kerr, Senior Executive Librarian with Donegal Library Service.

Maureen Kerr, Senior Executive Librarian is currently one of the longest serving members of staff in Donegal Library Service with this being her 24th year of service. We talked to Maureen and asked her about her career and the changes within Donegal Library Service over her 24 years.

Maureen first started work as a Library Assistant in Central Library, Letterkenny in July 1995. “I always loved books while I was growing up and was an avid reader, so when I saw the job advertised with Donegal County Council it seemed like a natural fit for me.” she said when asked why she joined the Library Service.

Maureen joined at a very exciting time for the Library Service in Donegal. “When I began working in the Central Library we were just getting ready to open it as the first purpose built library for Donegal. Since then, new (purpose built) libraries have opened in Milford, Carndonagh, Buncrana, Na Rosann, Bundoran and Gaoth Dobhair. “

During a career that has spanned the last 24 years, Maureen has witnessed quite a bit of changes in the services that the Library Service provides. “We’ve seen massive changes in terms of technology. The Central Library was the first library to move to a computerised library management system, which was followed by all our libraries in Donegal being gradually added to the network,” she says.

“Since 2017 all libraries in the country are part of the same library management system, giving all our library users free access to over 15 million items from the 333 libraries around the country; the service allows members of the library to request titles and have these delivered quickly and efficiently to their local branches.”

Maureen Kerr working in the Central Library in Letterkenny in 1995.

Maureen also witnessed the introduction of the Internet in the Library Service and we asked how the service has benefited from this. “The Internet was introduced to the library service not long after I started and was relatively new for the public, nowadays it’s pervasive and we all use it in our day to day lives. The library service provides access to a huge number of free online resources for our library users, including e-books and e-audio books, online newspapers and magazines, language learning, online courses and research resources. Our library website and social media keeps everyone up-to date with all our activities.“

“We also have self-issue kiosks in every branch for use by all our library members. The kiosks are attractive and easy to use, making it faster and simpler for library members to borrow and return items within the library.”

“Just recently, we were successful in getting a grant from the Department of Rural and Community Development and we are in the process of rolling out a range of digital equipment to our libraries with the help of IS, including tablets, ipads, high spec Macs and PCs, and digital touch screens which will allow us to facilitate digital skills development.”

“We now have a huge events programme running every year in our libraries and we are particularly proud of Wainfest, Children’s Arts and Books Festival, which runs in October every year. Wainfest grew from a handful of events in Central Library during 1996 to a countywide festival with 153 events and over 11,000 participants last year.”

When asked what progressions she would like to see in the Library service, Maureen said, “I would love to see all libraries becoming real focal points for communities. The ambition of the new national public library strategy ‘Our Public Libraries 2022’ is that we increase active membership to 30% of the population, so it would be really great to achieve that, and possibly then aim higher again!“

And Maureen’s favourite part of working in the Library Service, “The variety that comes with the work. At the beginning of the day I could be working with our partners such as the Lifestart, Health Promotion/HSE on a nursery rhymes booklet for parents to encourage reading and literacy, mid-day could mean a meeting with the senior library team to progress library development and later in the day I could be preparing a budget report for Senior Management. Tomorrow I might be attending a meeting in Dublin with library staff from other counties to progress the national ‘Right to Read’ programme. No two days are the same. And, of course, I still love books and it’s great to think that in some small way I might be helping someone else find that love too.”

Find out more about the Donegal Library Service here.