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Donegal Sports Star Awards June Review
June joy for Donegal’s Sports Stars

The June Donegal Sports Star Awards review reveals a range of super successes for teams and individuals from the county. The Donegal hurlers produced a super second half display to win the Nicky Rackard Cup for a second time by overcoming Warwickshire 2-19 to 0-18 at Croke Park with Man-of-the-Match Declan Coulter scoring 1-9.

In GAA there was double provincial success for the county. First the Donegal Ladies retained their Ulster Senior football title with an easy 9-21 to 4-8 win over Armagh at Brewster Park, Enniskillen with star forwards Geraldine McLaughlin Yvonne McMonagle scoring 3-6 each. Then a week later the Donegal men won the Ulster Senior Football Championship title for the ninth time thanks to a comfortable 12-point win over Fermanagh in Clones with first half goals from Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Ryan McHugh giving Declan Bonner’s men a big advantage. It rounded of a unique achievement for Bonner as he had previously managed Donegal to U16, U17 and U21 titles.

On the June Bank Holiday Monday there were celebrations on the double for host club Downings who won both the men’s and women’s All Junior Gaeltacht titles. The ladies had a 1-17 to 2-12 victory over Cill Chomain from Galway and the Na Dunaibh men defeated neighbours Fanad Gaels 1-12 to 1-10 in their junior final. And the Milford Club won it’s first ever All-Ireland Gaeltacht title after a 3-9 to 1-7 win over Leitir Mor (Galway) in Downings in the Intermediate decider thanks to a brace of goals from Leanne Boyce while Megan Ryan also found the back of the net. In the senior Gaeltacht decider Glenfin had a 13-point win over Maigh Cuilinn (Galway) in Downings (7-10 to 3-9).

In the middle of the month Manus Kelly and Donal Barrett won the Donegal International Rally for the third successive year and made history by being first all-Donegal crew to do so. The only others to achieved this feat were Cathal Curley and Billy Coleman.

Letterkenny native Joe Dunleavy played his part in ensuring that the Irish U20 side will have a place at next year’s World Championships. Dunleavy came on for the second half as the Irish eventually won an exciting game 39-33 in Beziers, France. Now playing his club rugby with Malone, Dunleavy had scored his first ever international try in Ireland’s against hosts France who won that World Cup opener.

In Clay Pigeon shooting there was a Donegal treble at the DTL Irish Open, which took place at Ashbourne, Co Meath. Newtoncunningham’s Jim Doherty and Charlotte Kennedy from Ardara won the respective Men’s and Women’s Irish Open Championships while Michael Boyle of Killybegs took the Irish Novice title. Mark Barnett from Porthall won the Irish Open Class C Championship.

Dungloe ABC fighter Matthew McCole won the 64kg Elite title in Harringey, London as a member of the Irish Third Level College team.

It was a good weekend for the Irwin brothers in Snetterton, Norfolk. Caolan Irwin took his first and Irwin Racing’s first ever motorcycling podium finish in the British Superstock 600 Championships. Caolan also recorded a first ever fastest race lap to taken an impressive third place. Younger brother Rhys achieved his best results to date in the British Talent Cup taking home two points scoring finishes from Snetterton. Another Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr finished 14th and 13th respectively in his two races during the fourth round of the British Superbike Championships in the Dickies Supersports Classs

There was a good week for Ramelton man Kieran Murray at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Cagliari. Murray won gold in golf; silver in the 1,500m and two bronze medals in the 5k and 800m events.

On the first Sunday in June when all the figures had been collated following the VHI women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin, there was further good news for Letterkenny Athletic Club’s three competitors. It was already known that Nakita Burke and Catriona Jennings had scooped finishing places in the top 10 in a very competitive race, with Nakita gaining the bonus of a new PB. It was also known that Monica McGranaghan had acquired a PB. However, it emerged on the Monday that the three LAC ladies also comprised the second team and so secured silver medals. On the last day of June Tirconaill AC’s Kelly McGroary won the U23 400m at the Irish U23 and Junior U20 Championships in Tullamore while club colleague Caolan O’Callaghan took silver in the Triple Jump. At the same championships Letterkenny AC’s Niamh Kelly won a silver medal in the 5,000m.

Two Letterkenny gymnasts Meg Carr and Patrick Quinlivan won a total of six gold medals at the Special Olympics National Finals in Dublin. Patrick took gold in the floor, vault, rings and parallel bars. Meg had firsts on the floor and beam and a silver on the vault.

Team Donegal Oil finished the toughest cycle race in the world, the ‘Race Across America in the East Coast’s capital city of Maryland, Annapolis. Arthur McMahon, Gerard Callaghan, Gavin Harris and Padraig McGinty were members of the first ever Donegal team to take part in the race spanning 3,200 miles across 12 States from the East to West Coasts of the US which started in Oceanside, California on the 16th of June.

Spanish based cyclist Cormac Keeney won the Donegal Ultra 555k Cycle in a record breaking time of 18 hours and 42 minutes. It shaved 37 minutes of the previous best time set by Ronan McLaughlin.

In horseracing Letterkenny teenager Dylan Browne-McMonagle enjoyed two very successful outings in the space of a week as he saddled three winners in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo and repeated that feat in Ballinagare, Co Longford

It was a good month for Rathmullan native Adrian Delap who was named Ulster Senior League ‘Player of the Year’ at the annual awards function and four days later the midfielder came on as an 82nd substitute for the Irish Universities side who defeated France 2-1 in a friend in Longford.

In Cue Sports Dungloe man Shaun Sharkey was given the honour of captaining the Irish team for the World Championships in Blackpool. And two members of the North West Snooker Club in Letterkenny Sean Devenney and Ronan Whyte were included in the World U18 and U21 Championships in Jinan, China.

On the last day of the month Inishowen ABC fighter Tyrone McCullagh won his Super Celtic Bantamweight bout against Joe Ham despite being knocked down in the third round of the contest at the SSE Arena.

In GAA the first Sunday in June won’t be fondly remembered by the Donegal U20s whose dreams of an Ulster Final disappeared after a disappointing defeat at Healy Park in Omagh. In the end Gary McDaid’s side lost by just a point on a score of 0-16 to 2-9.

The Donegal Masters recorded another win by overcoming Down 3-9 to 0-7 in Garvaghy. It made it four wins from four. The goal scorers were Brian McLaughlin and Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward.

On the first weekend of the month there were mixed fortunes for Finn Harps who had a 4-0 win over bottom of the table Athlone Town but then lost 4-2 to Longford Town on the Bank Holiday Monday. Ollie Horgan’s outfit then got a good 2-1 win away to Galway Utd thanks to goals from Jesse Devers and Mark Timlin but then suffered a 3-1 defeat to league leaders UCD in Ballybofey. But Harps bounced back after the mid-season break to secure a precious three away points thanks to a 1-0 win over Cabinteely at Stradbrook. Vice-captain Keith Cowan got the all important goal in the 71st minute.

Cockhill Celtic won the Donegal News League Cup Final by overcoming arch rivals Letterkenny Rovers 3-1 in the final played at Maginn Park in Buncrana with substitute Laurence Toland scoring twice. Dreams of playing at the World Cup ended for Donegal women Tyler Toland Amber Barrett, Roma McLaughlin and Amy Boyle Carr after their Republic of Ireland side lost 1-0 away to Norway. Toland played the full game while Barrett came on as an 83rd minute sub.