Brendan Boyce 2019 Overall Donegal Sports Star

Donegal Sports Star Awards January Review

January success for Donegal Sports

The start of a new decade saw a very busy sporting month with successes for the County at local, provincial and national level. The Donegal Sports Star Awards review takes a look a back at some of the January highlights.

In Adventure Sport, Creeslough man Shaun Stewart started the New Year endurance athletics season off in style by winning the 53km Art O’Neill Challenge in the dark of night from Dublin Castle to Glenmalure in Wicklow. Meanwhile, Letterkenny Athletic Club coach, Teresa McDaid, was given a tremendous and very well deserved award for her role as Ireland’s Senior Teams’
Operations Manager. She received the award of Signify Ireland ‘Manager of the Month’ for December having managed the Irish Cross Country team who claimed four medals at the 2019 European Cross Country Championship in Lisbon.

Staying with Cross-Country there were gold medals for Gillian Reynolds (Loreto Letterkenny), Sean McGinley (St. Eunan’s College), Karen Gallagher (Mulroy College Milford) and Paddy McDaid (St. Eunan’s College) at the annual District Schools Championships hosted by the Finn Valley Club. There was a bronze medal for Rosses AC’s Fodhla McFadden in the Long Jump at the National Indoor & U23 Championships in Athlone. Fodhla jumped 5.32m in the U23 category.

On the last Saturday in January, Inishowen AC member Sarah Kelly won her first major title after taking the NI and Ulster Cross Country Championships title at Armagh’s Gosford Park. Just the week before winning the Overall Donegal Sports Star Award, Finn Valley AC’s Brendan Boyce finished second in a 5000m Indoor Race Walk at the French Club Championships.

In Basketball, Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, beat Colaiste Muire, Crosshaven by 47-26 to lift the U16B Girls All Ireland Cup at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin. However, there was disappointment for Coaliste Colmcille Ballyshannon who lost 79-37 to Castletroy College in the National 16B All-Ireland Final at the Basketball Arena in Dublin. LYIT Donegal lost 88-80 away to Tradehouse Ballincollig in the National Men’s President’s Cup semi-final. Earlier in the month the LYIT had defeated Fr Mathews of Cork 84-73. The LYIT had been 46-43 behind at the break. Dom Uhl was the top scorer was on 29 points while in in his first senior game Killian Gribben scored 16 points.

The Donegal Men’s Bowling team booked their place in the National Boomer Cup semi-final after an away win over Monaghan. The Donegal Ladies secured their place in the National McElroy Cup Final by defeating the Northern Ladies in Kilrea. In boxing Jason Quigley defeated Mexican Fernando Marin with a third round stoppage in a Middleweight bout at the Hanger in Costa Mesa California. And on the last day of the month Leah Gallen (Raphoe ABC) retained her Irish U18 Welterweight title by defeating Shelby Myers on a 3-2 split decision. Ardara’s Ronan Whyte lost out at the WSF World Snooker Championships in Malta to Ben Mertens of Belgium 3-0. That made it two defeats for the North West Snooker Club member and meant he couldn’t qualify for the knock out stage.
On the first Sunday in January, Errigal Cycling Club members Conor Gallagher and Donnachadh Roarty qualified for the National Cyclocross Championships in Sligo. Gallagher took silver in the U16 category at the Ulster Championships in the Ecclesville Centre in Omagh. Roarty also qualified by finishing 5th in the U14 race. Despite a brave attempt on New Year’s Day the Termon Minors came up just short in their bid for an historic Ulster Club title in Belfast. Trevor Alcorn’s side who had won the Donegal title for the first time back in September had enjoyed a great run to the Ulster Final but in Lavey found a side that they could never quite get to grips in the decider and lost 0-9 to 0-8. The Burn Road side were never in front during the final at any stage in the final.

The Donegal U20’s had to settle for a draw in their Leo Murphy Cup opener (3-05 to 0-14) against Derry. At halftime it was Donegal who led 0-07 to 1-2. Sean Paul Barrett’s side then defeated Roscommon 0-7 to 0-6 in the second game in Ballyshannon. With just 13 players on the field in the closing stages Donegal were relieved to get away with a single point win a tight Dr McKenna Cup clash with Monaghan in Ballybofey. Manager Declan Bonner needed St. Eunan’s keeper Shaun Patton to be at his brilliant best to stop a late penalty from Shane Carey and the Bonagee man was also up quick to block a second attempt from the rebound. Donegal made it through to the Dr McKenna Cup semi-final after overcoming Derry 1-10 to 0-08 at Celtic Park.

On the last Saturday of January, a late James Durcan goal, saw Donegal having to settle for a draw against Mayo in their opening Division 1 league game at MacCumhaill Park (0-19 to 2-13). Meanwhile, the Donegal Ladies lost their Division League opener 4-7 to 2-9 against Mayo in Swinford. Four Donegal players Loreto Community School Milford’s Megan Ferry and Niamh
Harkin (Loreto Convent Letterkenny) along with Kate McClenaghan and Niamh McDonald from Moville Community School were named on the Ladies Ulster Colleges All-Star squad for the Inter-provincial tournament in Kinnegad.

In the middle of the month, Michael Murphy’s LYIT defeated Athlone IT 1-18 to 3-04 in their first ever game of the Sigerson Cup with Peadar Mogan’s goal a key score midway through the second half. But, the LYIT then suffered a heartbreaking 2-9 to 1-9 defeat by IT Carlow in the Sigersonsemi final played at Inishkeen, Co Monaghan.

Rory O’Donnell of Loreto Milford was selected at midfield while St Eunan’s Shane O’Donnell was named in the half forward line on the 15 Ulster Schools All Stars side.

Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin took the Player of the Year at the Gaelic Life All-Star awards in Monaghan. The ace forward was joined on the 2019 All-star by two other Termon players Mya Alcorn and Chelsea Gorman along with Naomh Muire’s Jade O’Donnell. Meanwhile, brothers Anthony and Ciaran Thompson from the Naomh Conaill Club were named on the 2019 Gaelic Life All-Star Men’s team where they were joined by Buncrana’s Caolan McGonagle.

Loreto Community School Milford booked their place in the Irish News Cup Final with a big 3-10 to 1-8 win over Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College Knock in Garvaghey. At the end of January, St. Nauls Brendan McCole and Conor Morrison of St. Eunan’s played key roles as Dublin City University won the Sigerson Cup Final after overcoming IT Carlow by 0-14 to 0-7 in Glasnevin.

On the Hockey front, Raphoe Ladies 1st XV drew 2-2 at home against the Ulster Elks thanks to goals from Katy Love and Leanne Patterson while Rathmullan lad Oisin Orr was in the horseracing winners enclosure in Australia on 14-1 shot Duneagle for trainer Chris Waller at Wyong. The Donegal hurlers suffered a 2-17 to 0-15 defeat at the hands of Armagh in their Division 3A opener at the O’Donnell Park.

On the first Saturday in January, Letterkenny Rugby Club had a 12-10 win over Newry at Dave Gallaher Park thanks to a late Christopher Digimas try and a subsequent Bryan McGinley conversion. Ronan Curtis was named the English League 1 December Player of the Month Award. It was the second month in a row for the St. Johnston man to pick up the award. At the end of January Curtis was the recipient of the Donegal Sports Star Professional Sport Achievement Award.

Buncrana Hearts booked their place in the 6th round of the FAI Junior Cup thanks to a late Calvin Gallagher goal that gave the Inishowen outfit a 1-0 win over Dublin side Rosemount Mulvey.

And fellow Inishowen outfit Greencastle F.C. secured their place in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup after a super extra-time win over reigning champions St Michael’s from Tipperary on a final score of 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamie McCormick and Christy Hegarty. Former Finn Harps captain Keith Cowan scored on his debut for Glentoran in the Irish Premiership 2-0 victory over Institute at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

Four Donegal players Patrick McGarvey, Adam McCarron, Luke Rudden and Patrick Ferry were members of the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys squad that defeated Australia 2-0 in an international friendly.

The Bangor Swimming Club Open Winter Swimming Festival was a great success for Swilly Seals. There were Gold medals for Grace Coyle (200 fly), Benji Cummings (400 free, 200 Breast, 100 free, 400 IM, 100 Breast, 200 IM,) Sinead Mc Laughlin (200 IM), Oran Mulligan (200 Breast) and Caoimhe Nic Aoidh (100 Free).

Silver medals were won by Benji Cummings (50 Breast), Cian Mulligan (200 Breast), Cillian Murphy (400 Free), Caoimhe Nic Aoidh (50 fly), Aoibheann Sheridan (200 Breast).

Bronze Medals went to Grace Coyle (100 Fly), Fern Duffy (50 Breast), Sinead Mc Laughlin (50 fly, 100 free), Cillian Murphy( 50 back, 200 IM, 200 free), Molly Nulty (50 back).

In Secondary Schools sport, Moville Community School defeated Scoil Mhuire Buncrana to claim the FAI Ulster Senior Schools title with a 5-2 win at St. Patrick’s Park in Carndonagh. Meanwhile, Crana College, Buncrana won the Ulster Football Championship U16 Plate Final by overcoming St. Kevin’s Armagh 3-6 to 2-8 at Strabane’s Melvin Sports Centre. Loreto Community School Milford came out on top in the Irish News Cup Final 0-14 to 2-5 against Our Lady’s Secondary School Castleblaney in Garvaghey.

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