Monthly Review

Sports Star September Review

Athletics
Several LAC runners made the long journey to Belfast on Sunday morning There was a stunning victory, as well as a PB, for in-form Catriona Jennings at the ‘Deep River Rock Belfast City Half Marathon’. She was the first woman across the line and achieved a new PB of 1.15.37.

Ciaran McGonagle and Raymond Birch both achieved top 10 finishes in the Waterside Half Marathon in Derry. Ciaran ran 1.14.14, which gave him seventh place overall and second place in the M40 category. Raymond was ninth overall and the second M35 runner in a time of 1.17.22.

Brendan Boyce returned to competition this week in China after the disappointment of having to pull out just days before the 50k Race Walk World Championships Final in London last month due to a hamstring injury.
The Milford man was in Shangai for a four-day team endurance event. Boyce’s team included his Irish teammate Alex Wright, Poland’s Damian Blocki and South African Wayne Snyman.

On Tuesday in the blistering heat and humidity nine competitors didn’t finish the 10.5km course. Snyman was first home for the team in 10th overall in 44:37 while Brendan had his best finish of the first three days taking 17th place in 45:53 and overall the Finn Valley Club member moved up to 15th. Wright was third counter in 47:10. That kept Boyce’s team in fifth place at that stage.

Boxing
Ciaran Anderson from the Twin Towns Boxing Club, representing Ireland lost out to Asian Monika Bagri at the National Stadium.

Saturday 9th September – Michael Gallagher won his first ever professional bout overcoming Polish opponent Mateusz Rybarski at the National Stadium in Dublin on a TKO in the second round.

Camogie
Saturday 9th September – The Donegal U14 team was crowned All-Ireland champions for the first time.

Cycling
Gweedore girl Clodagh Ni Ghallchoir won a gold medal in the Street Sprint at the 2017 UK School Games at Loughborough University.

Equestrian
Glenswilly woman Mary Devine finished runner-up on her horse Wolansky at the Northern Ireland Spring Festival Dressage Show in Danecroft Equestrian Centre

GAA
Sunday 10th September – Gweedore defeated St. Eunan’s to reach the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship while the other quarter-final winners were Naomh Conaill, Kilcar and St. Michael’s. Aodh Ruadh, Milford, Fanad Gaels and St. Nauls secured places in the semi-finals of the Intermediate Football Championship.

Once again Burt proved their pedigree as a well organized outfit on Saturday evening at the O’Donnell Park as Ronan McLaughlin’s side had St. Michael’s ‘on the ropes’ until Colm Anthony McFadden and Andrew Kelly posted injury-time points to eventually secure the ‘Bridge Boys’ a place in the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship (0-13 to 1-8).

Despite a gallant effort Cloughaneely just came up in short in their bid to knock pre-match favourites Milford out of the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship on Saturday evening at the O’Donnell Park (1-15 to 1-12).
Saturday 30th September – It was comfortable in the end for Fanad Gaels as Aidan McAteer’s side booked a place in the semi-finals of the Donegal Intermediate Football Championship thanks to an eight-point win over Naomh Columba at the O’Donnell Park on Sunday (3-9 to 0-10). Seamie ‘Coshia’ Friel’s 52nd minute penalty goal was arguably the game’s crucial score as it left the Glencolmcille outfit trailing by six points with time running out.

In the proverbial game of two halves Fanad Gaels were in the end probably happy to settle for a draw after a disappointing second half performance in Sunday’s County Intermediate Football semi-final against St. Nauls at the O’Donnell Park (0-12 each). That was frustrating as Aidan McAteer’s men had led by six points at the break but the Mountcharles outfit were a transformed side after the interval and were perhaps a shade fortunate not to have scored at least goal one goal in the second half.

With four minutes of injury time played at the O’Donnell Park on Sunday and Milford holding on to a one-point lead Aodh Ruadh Ballyshannon had one last chance to force a replay. Fortunately for the Moyleview faithful Philip Patton’s free drifted narrowly wide and so Danny O’Donnell’s side has secured their place in the County Intermediate Final for the second successive year (2-12 to 1-14). It was an entertaining semi-final where both sides had their spells of superiority but there was never much between them in terms of the score over the 66 minutes of football.

Friday 15th September – The Donegal Masters booked their place in the semi-finals of the national competition with an 1-11 to 0-7 win over Cavan in Convoy
Wednesday 27th September – The Donegal Masters booked their place in the semi-finals of the national competition with a 2-16 to 3-6 win over Antrim in Garvaghy with the help of goals from Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward and Dermot McColgan.

Saturday 23rd September – Kilcar hammered St. Michael’s 2-16 to 0-7 to reach the senior championship final for the second successive year.
Saturday 30th September – Naomh Conaill secured their place in the Donegal Senior Football Championship Final with a one-point win over Gweedore (1-13 to 1-12) at McCumhaill Park following a great comeback.

Sunday 10th September – Glenfin defeated Moville to win the Donegal Ladies Senior Football Championship Final in Convoy on a score of 1-9 to 1-7.

Paddy McBrearty was the only Donegal player among the list of nominees for the 2017 All-Star team.

Sunday 24th September – Fanad Gaels club member Siobhan Coyle and referee Siobhan had the honour of being a lines woman for the All-Ireland Senior Football Final between Dublin and Mayo. Back in July she was a referee at the Continental Youth Championships in New York.

Golf
Gweedore were crowned Donegal Youth Matchplay Champions after defeating Ballybofey & Stranorlar in the decider.

Horseracing
Sunday 17th September – Teenager Dylan Browne-McMonagle was crowned champion jockey at Finn Valley with two wins on Let’s Go Now and Five Stone of Lead.

Hurling
St. Eunans and Setanta secured their places in the Donegal Senior Final after their respective wins over reigning champions McCumhaills and Burt.

Saturday 16th September – Setanta were crowned County Senior Hurling Champions after a 1-16 to 1-8 victory over St. Eunan’s at McCumhaill Park

Martial Arts
There was big success for members of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club at the JKS European Championships. Jamie-Lee Simpson, Emma Dolan, Natasha Doherty were part of a four-member team that were crowned European U14 Kumite Champions. Meanwhile, Emma Dolan was crowned U14 Female European Champion.

Motorsport
Marty Gallagher of Letterkenny and Convoy’s Dean O’Sullivan in their Peugeot 208 R2 recorded their first win of a round of the junior section of the British Rally Championship on the Isle of Man.

Rugby
Carndonagh teenager Stephen Kelly won his first Ulster cap when he played in the second row for the province’s U18s in an Inter-provincial clash with Leinster

Letterkenny Rugby Club member Mia Alcorn scored a try for the Ulster U18s in a 32-12 Inter-provincial rugby win over Connacht.

Soccer
Tuesday 19th September – Milford woman Amber Barrett and 16-year-old St. Johnston girl Tyler Toland made there senior international competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland women’s team in a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland at Mourneview Park in the opening game of their World Cup qualifying campaign. Barrett was introduced as a late sub after Toland had also come on as a replacement.

Illies Celtic Ladies completed an historic treble adding the Inishowen Cup to their North West Super League and Ulster titles.

Saturday 2nd September – Donegal Town’s Jack Keaney came on as a late sub for the Republic of Ireland U19s who defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 at the Waterford RSC in the first of two international friendlies against the same opponents.

Rhys McCabe’s injury-time strike handed Sligo Rovers a precious three points in the race to avoid the drop from the League of Ireland Premier Division as the Bit O’Red got the better of Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Saturday night. The visitors had gone 1-0 up thanks to Vinny Faherty on 16 minutes. But Ollie Horgan’s men deservedly levelled the game in the 82nd minute courtesy of a goal of sheer class from Paddy McCourt.
Saturday 22nd September – Finn Harps relegation worries deepened after Ollie Horgan’s side lost 4-1 to Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium.
Sunday 24th September – St. Johnston’s Tyler and Glenties girl Amy-Boyle-Carr both started as the Republic of Ireland U17s recorded an opening 1-0 win over host nation Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain in the UEFA European Qualifying Round Group game.
Saturday 30th September – St. Johnston’s Tyler played the full 90 minutes while Glenties girl Amy-Boyle-Carr was a second half sub as the Republic of Ireland U17s recorded a 2-0 win over Greece to maintain their fine form in the European Qualifying Group. Toland and Carr had also both played in the 2-0 victory over Romania in Zenica three days earlier which ensured qualification for the Elite Phase of the UEFA U17 Championships.
Ballybofey lad Oisin Merritt was a member of the Republic of Ireland team that finished sixth at the Cerebral Palsy World Cup
Surf-Lifesaving
Sunday 24th September – Rossnowlagh’s Una Britton became Irish Surfing National Women’s Senior Champion for the first time at the Peak, Bundoran. She also won the U18 title. Bundoran Board Riders members Katie McAnena and her partner Finn Mullen won national titles in the Stand Up Paddleboarding Surf Division.
Bea Greenberg from Creeslough won the Irish Junior U14 Surfing title and was third overall.
Swimming
Cody Dunnion a first year student at Loreto Convent Milford was selected for the Regional Skills Academy Programme with Swim Ulster/Swim Ireland.

Triathlon
Letterkenny 24/7 Club member Margaret Kelly finished in a time of 5:36:54 in the 70.3km World Championships i

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Donegal Sports Star Awards July Review

International success for Donegal sports
The Donegal Sports Star Awards July review reveals a splendid spread of international successes in swimming, boxing, gymnastics and hockey. On the first Sunday in July, Marlins Ballyshannon club member Mona McSharry won two gold medals and a silver at the European Junior Swimming Championships. The golds were secured in the 50m and 100m breastrokes while silver came in the 200m breastroke. Mona also set two new Irish senior and junior records in those events. She also set a new Irish junior record as part of the Mixed Medley Relay who finished fourth. With her two golds and a silver this time and a silver and bronze from last year Mona is now the most successful Irish swimmer ever at the European Junior Championships.

Another a member of the Marlins Swimming Club, 12-year-old Cora Rooney enjoyed success at the national championships winning gold in the 400m individual medley, 100m free, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke. Cora also took silver in 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle.

Towards the end of July there was a brilliant bronze medal for Illies Golden Gloves Boxing Club member John Moran at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. The 18-year-old earned his bronze after defeating Samoan Seonoa Hall in a quarter-final bout. Moran’s bid for a silver medal was ended in a tight semi-final contest losing out to Nathan James Probert from Wales.

17 members of the Finesse Gymnastics Club, representing, Ireland won a team bronze at the World Gym for Life Challenge in Vestfold, Norway. And there was international success for young Raphoe hockey players Ben Wallace and Alexander Tinney who were members of the Ireland U18 team who defeated England 4-2 in a 6 Nations tournament in Nottingham. It was the first time in three years for the Irish to do so and it meant they came higher in the group than England.

At home Mark English took gold while there was bronze for Karl Griffin in the 800m Final at the Irish Track & Field Championships in Dublin. Also at the finals Finn Valley’s John Kelly won the senior shot putt gold and in the process becoming the first Donegal man to do so since John Gallagher of Cruit Island 65 years ago while Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn was second in the 5000m Women’s Final.

Track specialist, Milford man Brian Boyce, competing in the colours of Letterkenny Athletic Club continued his excellent recent form. Having picked up double bronze in the Athletics Ireland Master’s Championship, Boyce was in even better form in the Northern Ireland Master’s Finals at the Mary Peters’ track in Belfast. He achieved a golden double. He was first in the M40 category in his preferred distance of 400m in a time of 54.58s. He also the winner in the 200m when he ran 24.23s.

Bosco Reid won national Masters shot putt titles on both sides of the border on successive days. First the Finn Valley member retained the National Masters in Tullamore on the Saturday. And then on the Sunday repeated that success at Northern Masters Finals in Belfast. Donegal won the All-Ireland C U21 Hurling Championship with a 1-14 to 0-12 victory over Sligo at Markievicz Park.

On the first Sunday of the month Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin played a captain’s role with a magnificent 2-6 as Donegal landed a second TG4 Ulster senior title in three seasons in Clones against reigning champions Monaghan (4-11 to 0-15). Michael Naughton’s side laid the foundations for this marvelous win with the help of three first half goals from Termon’s Roisin Friel, Yvonne McMonagle of Glenfin and then McLaughlin struck before the break to give the Tirconaill outfit a 3-5 to 0-9 advantage.

Rhys Irwin was in dominant form on his return to the Masters Superbike Championship at Mondello Park at the weekend. Riding in the Lightweight Supersport class the Donegal teenager took three wins, along with three fastest race laps, and lifted an additional cash award for scoring the most points of any competitor in his class over the three races. Rhys also picked up four wins at the British Series Racing in Rockington while his older brother Caolan recorded two podium finishes at the UK circuit. The Donegal-Derry Vipers moved top of the Irish American Football League 1 after narrowly defeating promotion favourites Craigavon Cowboys 21-20 away from home. 11-year-old Alex Hughes Frosses schoolboy won a tournament at Kirk’s Bar in Clady, which has secured him a place at the Worthington’s Champion of Champions Final in Cardiff at the end of August.

There was national success for two young Letterkenny boxers Joe Harkin and Paddy McShane. And Ardara woman Charolette Kennedy enjoyed international Clay Pigeon Shooting success in Scotland as a member of the Irish team that won three titles – the Home Internationals, the British Open and the European Championships. Newtowncunningham man Jim Doherty was second in the British Open at the same championships.

The fifth annual Letterkenny International Track & Field meeting saw a string of outstanding performances at the Aura’s Danny McDaid Track. The crowd were treated to five meeting records across a host of world class events, as well as World championship and Commonwealth Games qualification standards. When the curtain came down on the meeting, Letterkenny Athletic Club could be very pleased with the event, with 100 athletes from 25 countries from all over the World taking part.

Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Teresa McDaid travelled to Bydgoszcz, Poland during the month as manager of a very strong Irish team in the European Athletics Under 23 Championship.

Donegal suffered a heavy 4-17 to 0-4 defeat at the hands of Galway in a Round 4 Qualifier at Markievicz Park in Sligo. The painful loss came after Rory Gallagher’s side was fortunate to get over Longford (0-12 to 0-7) at McCumhaill Park on the first day of July. A week later Donegal maintained their interest in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship thanks to Paddy McBrearty’s injury-time winner against Meath at Pairc Tailteann in Navan. The Donegal Masters got their championship off to the perfect start with a 1-15 to 0-9 wn over Leitrim/Longford in Ballinamore with St. Michael’s man Brian McLaughlin getting the goal in the second half. Val Murray’s side then made it back-to-back wins by overcoming Tyrone on a score of 1-9 to 0-8 at Coaliste Ailigh in Letterkenny with Brian McLaughlin again getting the goal this time in the first half.

In horseracing Letterkenny youngster Dylan Browne McMonagle made the long trip to Tipperary to take victory aboard Waratah in the 148 cm ponies. Dylan continued his winning ways with a fine treble – he also had wins with Half Price in the mile and a quarter open and Jungle Juice in the 12 furlong open. A week later the 14-year-old jockey won nine of his 15 mounts at the two-day Big Isle meeting in Manorcunningham. And near the end of the month Dylan stayed on course for the senior jockeys championship title with three wins at a race meeting in Porthall, Lifford.

On the last Friday of July, Finn Harps secured a big three points with a 3-2 victory over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. Eddie Dsane and new signing Mark Timlin put Harps 2-0 up at the break. Ten men Bray pulled a goal back but Abrahim Kieta headed in a third that just about saw the visitors over the line after the hosts pulled a second goal back to make it a tense finish for Ollie Horgan’s outfit. It rounded a pretty good month for Harps. On the first Friday of the month goals from Dsane and Danny Morrissey saw the Donegal outfit record a deserved 2-0 victory over Drogheda United at United Park on Friday night. A week later Dsane was on the mark again along with Sean Houston helping Harps to a really big three points in an impressive performance against in-form Bohemians in Ballybofey. The only low of the month was the concession of those two late goals against Derry City that denied Horgan’s men a share of the spoils in the rescheduled League of Ireland Premier Division match in Ballybofey. The hosts had gone quite well but then those late strikes from Darren Cole and Aaron McEneff gave the Candystripes a 2-0 win.

In early July Letterkenny man Dale Gorman converted a penalty to give his English League Two side Stevenage a 2-2 draw against Norwich City in a pre-season friendly. Stevenage came from 2-0 down with Gorman’s spot-kick equalizer coming on 66 minutes. Sean McBride from the Twin Towns and Ramelton lad Shane McNamee played for a Republic of Ireland U19 home based squad in a friendly game against the Irish Universities side in Dublin.

Milford woman Amber Barrett and Meenlaragh’s Joe Coll were named in the respective women’s and men’s soccer squads for the 2017 Summer Universiade, which will be hosted in Taipei on the island of Taiwan. Barrett is a student at NUI Maynooth, was an outstanding underage player with the Republic of Ireland. Her goal scoring record has been consistently of the highest standard and that was recognized last season with a national award when playing with club side Peamount Utd in Dublin.

Goalkeeper Coll currently plays his club football with Donegal Junior League side Glenea Utd with whom he won a Premiership medal back in April. He is a student at the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology. Coll is a former Manchester Utd academy player and was capped at a number of age levels with the Republic of Ireland.

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Donegal Sports Star Awards March Review
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There was an array of sporting highlights for Donegal teams and individuals during the month of March. The Donegal Sports Star Awards review records significant successes in athletics, soccer, basketball, motorcycling, tennis, motorsport, surf/lifesaving and boxing.

In the middle of March the dream of winning ‘The Race’ became a reality for Marty Lynch in Gartan when the Ramelton man was first across the line after finally seeing off the challenge of Shaun Stewart who was second home in the individual category. The relay section was won by Joe Gallagher (runner), Martin Gallagher (cyclist) and Martin Kerr (kayaker) members of Team Three Wise Men while Letterkenny’s Sharon Black became the first Donegal woman to finish the 24-hour endurance event and she was second overall in the female section.

In athletics abroad Finn Valley A.C.’s John Kelly represented Ireland in a shot putt event at the European U21 Championships in the Canary Islands where he threw 16.84m. Also on the international front Milford man Brendan Boyce produced a super performance in Lugano, Switzerland with his second fastest ever time for a 20k race walk when he finished in 1.25.33. It was Boyce’s first competitive outdoor race of the season.

Meanwhile, Brendan’s older brother Brian a member of Letterkenny Athletic Club was in Daegu, South Korea where he participated in the World Masters’ Indoor Championships as a M35 athlete. Brian had an excellent run in the 400m where his time for the two-lap race was 55.02 secs just missing out on a place in the final by the narrowest of margins. A couple of days later, Boyce was in action again as part of the Irish M35 4x 200m relay team which, finished in 6th place less than two seconds outside the medals.

On the last weekend of the month there were six medals for Finn Valley A.C. at the National Juvenile Championships in Athlone. Sommer Lecky (High and Long Jumps U18) and Janine Boyle (Long Jump and 60m U19) were double gold winners while there were also firsts for James Kelly in the shot putt and Lurien Callaghan in the U16 Long Jump.

In soccer Roma McLaughlin was a member of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team who continued their unbeaten run in the Cyprus Cup with a 0-0 draw against Hungary. McLaughlin followed that up by being named the U19 Women’s International Player of the Year at the Three FAI Soccer Awards in RTE Studios, Dublin.

Another young soccer player St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland played every minute of the three games for the Republic of Ireland Women’s U17 side who qualified for this summer’s UEFA Championships which was clinched by a 1-0 win over Hungary. And her fellow Deele College student Neve Scanlon was a member of the Republic of Ireland U15 Schools side that won the International John Read Cup after defeating England 2-1 at the AUL Complex in Dublin. Scanlon plays her club football with Lagan Harps.

Barry McNamee took the match ball home from Maginn Park after scoring his first ever hat-trick in the League of Ireland Premier Division. The 25-year-old ex-Swilly Rovers player rattled home his three goals in an eight-minute second half blitz as the Candystripes made it the maximum 12 points from their opening four league games of the new season with a big 4-0 win over Drogheda Utd.

Mark Cannon’s LYIT basketball side made history by becoming the first set of players from Port Road third level institution to win a national title in the sport. And it was to be a memorable decider as the LYIT were behind in the closing stages of the NBCC Division 2 duel at the Oblate Hall in Inchicore. It took baskets from their US men T-John Casiello and Jack Mackey to secure the national title in overtime Dundalk IT.

In basketball at international level twins Tadhg and Cian Hickey from Kilmacrennan were selected on the UK U23 squad, comprising professional and semi-professional players for a World Basketball tournament in France.

In motorcycling teenager Caolán Irwin from Kilmacrennan made an impressive start to his British 600cc Elite Championship at Brands Hatch. Irwin on his Stock Yamaha R6 against the more powerful Supersport 600′s proved his worth against 41 riders battling to qualify for the main race. Qualifying comfortably in 18th position Race 1 saw Caolán get a flying start progressing quickly but a minor mechanical fault led to his retirement in that race. But he bounced back in Race 2 ending in an unbelievable fifth place. In Race 3 Caolan took his first 600cc Podium on his maiden weekend in the class.

In the middle of March Frosses man Donagh Kelly won the West Cork Rally for the fourth successive year. It was the first time that any driver has done so in the 40-year history of the Clonakilty event. Kelly and co-driver Conor Foley in their Ford Focus WRC led all through the rally.

In the national section Pettigo’s Kevin Eves and William Lynch were the winners in a Toyota Corolla with another Donegal crew Kevin Gallagher and Brendan McElhinney second. Manus Kelly and Gareth Doherty finished third in the Midland Moto Rally in their Subaru WRC while Muff man Joe McGonigle and his co-driver Ciaran Geaney won the Mayo Stages Rally in a Skoda Fabia R5.

In tennis Raphoe based Elaine Chambers was a member of the Irish Over 35s team that took part in World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa. Elaine, a native of the Waterside in Derry, is a member of the Butt Hall Tennis Club.

The Donegal Surf/Lifesaving Club returned from the National Stillwater Championships at University Limerick with an impressive nine gold, eight silver and five bronze medals. Buncrana schoolgirl Eadaoinn O Raw grabbed two bronze in the youth section in her first ever lifesaving competition.

In the Masters Section, Triona McMenamin, Paddy Bond, Lisa Anderson, Lisa Dalton, and Kieran Somerville had a very successful weekend picking up the remainder of the medal haul and setting three national master records and placing third overall. Buncrana’s Patrick Doherty won the All-Ireland Light Heavyweight third-level boxing title at the National Stadium in Dublin.

At the start of March Coaliste Colmcille Ballyshannon won the Ulster Markey Cup Final 4-11 to 0-12 against fellow Donegal team Coaliste na Carriage in Irvinestown. The Donegal/Derry Vipers lost their opening IAFL Division 1 match of the new season going down narrowly 9-8 to the West Dublin Rhinos. Michael Crossan was named Donegal Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award winner by the National Community Games organization at a function in the Shamrock Hotel, Athlone. The awards were presented to those who had given dedicated service to the Games over the years.

In the middle of the month Buncrana born John Hutchinson easily defeated a Thai opponent in a six-rounder at the WA Italian Club in Perth. But on the other side of the Atlantic defending champion Mickey Owen McLaughlin lost his New England Welterweight title to Danny O’Connor at the Boston House of Blues Arena. The Glengad native lost on a majority decision.

St. Nauls player Brendan McCole captained Dublin City University to the All-Ireland Freshers Colleges Cup title in a 1-13 to 1-10 win over NUI Galway in Kildoon, Roscommon.

During March the Donegal senior football time secured the place in Division 1 for another season ending the month with a draw against Monaghan after producing a superb performance to record a six-point win over Tyrone (0-12 to 0-6) in dreadful weather conditions at MacCumhaill Park and before that it was a very well deserved eight-point win over a disappointing Cavan side (1-16 to 0-11) at Breffni Park.

The Donegal U21s secured their place in the semi-finals of the Ulster Championship following an 0-18 to 1-9 win over Tyrone in a replay at McCumhaill Park. Seven days earlier the two sides had ended up all square at Healy Park on a score of 0-14 each after extra-time.

On the last Sunday of March the Donegal senior ladies side made sure of their place in Division One football again next season following a narrow one point 3-12 to 1-17 win over Monaghan at the Burn Road in Termon.

At the start of March the Donegal hurlers had a 2-14 to 0-15 win over Tyrone at the O’Donnell Park. And Ardal McDermott’s men followed that up by recording a 2-13 to 1-21 win over Monaghan at the O’Donnell Park but then lost 1-12 to 1-10 to Tyrone in Garvaghy

In rugby Fahan’s Nora Stapleton helped Ireland to a 12-7 win over Wales in Cardiff to setup a Grand Slam decider against England. But on St. Patrick’s Day, Stapleton’s dream of that Grand Slam success were dashed in the decider as England took the title with a 34-7 win at Donnybrook.

In soccer Ramelton lad Connor Gormley made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys who had to come from behind to defeat their Northern Ireland counterparts 2-1 in the Centenary Shield competition in Bangor. Loreto Convent Milford student Gormley who plays his club football with Derry City came on as a late sub for the three minutes of injury time. Finn Harps player Shane Blaney, a student at St. Eunan’s College played the full game for the second time having captained the team in the win over Wales last month.

On the first Friday of March Finn Harps were involved in an eight-goal incident packed clash with Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds but it was the hosts that ended up 5-3 winners. Seven days later Ollie Horgan’s side secured their first point of the new League of Ireland Premier Division season after a fortunate 1-1 draw with Galway Utd in Ballybofey. Sean Houston put Ollie Horgan’s side in front but Kevin Devaney earned the visitors a share of the spoils. Harps then got a very important three points in a 2-1 victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park. The visitors came from behind with goals from Sean Houston and Ciaran O’Connor in what was a very big result for Horgan’s side. And in a hectic spell Sean Houston’s third goal in as many games helped Harps secure a very valuable point against Limerick F.C. at the Markets Field. Horgan then saw his side record their first home win of the 2017 season 2-1 after very late drama in Ballybofey courtesy of Ciaran O’Connor’s 94th-minute goal in the North West derby against Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey. And bringing a very busy March to a close Harps left the Tallaght Stadium with no points despite coming back from 2-0 down to draw level with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. The visitors had hit back in the second half thanks to debut goals from Caolan McAleer and Paddy McCourt but there was to be heartbreak when Simon Madden popped up with a 90th minute winner for the Hoops.

There was heartbreak for the Donegal Youths who lost out in a sudden death penalty shoot-out against Waterford in the quarter-finals of the FAI Inter League Cup after the game had ended 0-0 following extra-time at An Screaban in Gweedore.

The Greencastle U16 Girls were denied a place in the National Cup Final for a second successive year after losing 3-0 to Wicklow outfit Enniskerry at Chapel Lane.

In Primary Schools sport the 5th / 6th class teams from Scoil Cholmcille won the All Ireland Sportshall Athletics Championships held in Athlone recently. Also, the 3rd / 4th class team were placed second in the championships.
The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes from Scoile Mhuire Gan Smal Letterkenny also won gold at the same championships in Athlone.

In Secondary Schools soccer there was a big disappointment for Carndonagh School whose dreams of back-to-back All-Ireland Senior Schools titles were dashed by Rice College, Westport after a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final at the Sligo IT’s astro-turf pitch. Cathal Farren had given the Carn boys the lead from the penalty spot but Rice equalized just before the break.

And it was a similar story for St. Eunan’s College who suffered the heartbreak of a penalty shoot-out defeat in the All-Ireland Junior Schools Final in Dublin after the decider had ended 0-0 at the end of extra-time against St. Francis College Rochestown from Cork.

For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter at DL Sportstars.

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Donegal Sports Star Awards February Review

Fantastic February for Donegal Sport

There were plenty of highlights in Donegal sport during the month February with big successes here at home and abroad in athletics, rowing, badminton, soccer, swimming, Tug-of-War, motorsport, powerlifting, bowling and rugby. It was an especially good month for athletics with the Finn Valley Club doing exceptionally well.

The reigning Donegal Sports Star ‘Secondary Schoolboy’ Award title holder James Kelly won the Scottish Shot Putt title at the Emirate Indoor Stadium in Glasgow with a throw of 15.71. His brother John had a fabulous February. First he broke the Donegal shot putt record when he threw 17.49m at Santry in Dublin and it was also a European B qualification standard. John then set a new colleges shot putt record when winning the Irish Universities title at Athlone IT with a throw of 16.97. And to cap it all of the young St. Johnston man won his first senior indoor Irish title by taking gold in the shot putt with a throw of 17.02 metres.

At the same finals Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky won gold in the senior high jump with a 1.81m leap. Young Finn Valley A.C. runner Emily Kelly finished third in the 55m sprint event at the famous Millrose Games in New York. And there was double team success for the Twin Towns club at the Cross Country Championships in Waterford. The U17 Boys team led home by Ben Carr were the winners in their age category. The Valley U11 Girls also won a team title on the day.

At the start of the month Letterkenny A.C.’s Brendan Boyce produced a superb performance at the AAI Indoor Games in the National Sports Arena. The Milford man recorded a Personal Best of 11.28 in the 3k to finish second, behind his fellow Irish Olympian, Alex Wright. But, later Boyce was disappointed at only taking a bronze in the Irish Indoor 5k Final at the National Arena in Dublin. Lifford/Strabane A.C.’s Adrienne Gallen won a silver medal in the shot at the U13 Scottish Indoor Championships in Glasgow. Adrienne had previously taken gold at the Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships.

Letterkenny A.C.’s Annemarie McGlynn had an impressive run in the Women’s 3k at the Brooks 5k Armagh International Road Race. She finished in 9.33 in a very fast race. Annmarie helped the Irish team, under the management of LAC coach Teresa McDaid, to third place in the International team event. It was a good February for another Letterkenny A.C. member Matthew Johnston who first put in a couple of tremendous performances at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Track and Field Championship at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt. Matthew clocked 2.06 in the U19s 800m to claim second place. He also finished second in the 1500m race in 4.23. And later in the month at Athlone IT, Johnston set a new PB in the winning the U19 event in a time of 4.15. The race was a combined Junior/Senior race with Matthew second overall.

In the middle of the month Kilmacrennan’s Danny Ryan produced a stunning performance to take a bronze medal at the annual World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston. The former international boxer was competing in the 2000 metres on the Concept 2 Rowing machine. Danny was entered in the 40-49 Lightweight age category, finishing in a time of 6 minutes and 32 seconds. His son Keane was also in Boston for the World Finals. In the Open Lightweight category and he did a personal best of 6:54 to finish 31st in a 70 strong field.

History was made at the Irish Senior National Badminton Championsips in Lisburn when Chloe Magee won the mixed doubles and women’s doubles titles. It meant that the three-time Olympian from Raphoe had raked up 23 national titles one more than the previous record held by Bruce Topping. Chloe’s niece, Rachael Darragh won the national singles title. In the women’s doubles Magee and Darragh were the winners. In the mixed doubles, Chloe and Sam Magee came out on top. It was a memorable weekend for the Magee family and the Raphoe Badminton Club as they claimed four of the five titles on offer.
Sam and Joshua Magee were victorious in the men’s doubles.

In the middle of the month St. Eunan’s College and Finn Harps player Shane Blaney captained the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys to a 2-1 victory over Wales at the Home Farm grounds in Dublin. Jamie Bell of St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar and Connor Gormley (Loreto Community School Milford) were unused subs. On the first day of February, Mulroy College, Milford came from behind to win the final of the SFAI Senior B Girls National Cup after defeating St. Peter’s Community School, Passage West (Cork) 2-1 following extra-time. Caoimhe Walsh was the hero with a late second half equalizer and it was the Kerrykeel girl who popped up with the winner eight minutes into extra-time.

There were two gold and a silver medal for Letterkenny’s Anna Hennessy at the Irish Down Syndrome National Swimming Championships. The 17-year-old Loreto Convent student’s medal successes were achieved at Stewarts Sports Centre in Palmerstown, Dublin. Anna’s gold medals came in the 25m and 50m freestyle while the silver success was in the 25m butterfly. The transition year student had a great weekend recording the fastest overall time out of the three 50m freestyle heats. She also had the top time after the seven 25m heats. Anna’s silver medal came after seeing off the challenge of two Team Ireland swimmers in the 25m butterfly. The Creevy N.S. Ballyshannon relay team of James Monaghan, Darragh Summerville, Alan Vaughan and Caolan McCauley won the Boy 10 Under 200m Freestyle All-Ireland Minor Schools Swimming Championship at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin.

In the middle of the month there was gold for the Carndonagh Tug-of-War team at the British & Irish Championships in Castlebar overcoming favourites and two-time world champions Country Club from Fermanagh in the final.

For the fifth time in his distinguished navigating career Rory Kennedy was a winner at the Galway International Rally sitting alongside Garry Jennings in a Subaru Impreza WRC. It was back-to-back victories for the crew at the Galway event. Kennedy first won there in the 1990s calling the notes for the late Bertie Fisher.

The Finn Valley Vikings powerlifting team were in top form at the National Drug-Free Single Lift Championships in Castleblayney. Edyta Piechowicz won the squat and bench press with lifts of 100kg and 55kg and was second in the deadlift with a lift of 140kg. Maria McShane won the deadlift and best female deadlift with a lift of 145kg. There was also a first place for her team colleague Sinead Kyle in the deadlift with a lift of 147.5kg. Paulina Coleman won the squat bench press and deadlift and she was best female squat with lifts of 160kg 85kg and 170kg and her husband Mick finished off by winning the bench press with a lift of 160kg.

Three Donegal women won weightlifting gold medals at the Northern Ireland Spring National Championships. Rathmullen’s Orla Harrison, Stranolar woman Abby Meenan and Megan Keown from Milford of Fit-Hub Barbell Club in Letterkenny. Harrison was competing as a senior female and picked up a gold medal in the 75kgs clean & jerk and the 58kg snatch. It meant that she had set a new personal best in the process. Under-17 Keown, a junior female, won gold and set new national records in both the clean & jerk at 63kg and the snatch at 57kg. Junior female under-15 Meenan set national records for both lifts, clean & jerk 48kg and snatch 35kg.

Denis Doherty’s Donegal Indoor Bowling Ladies produced a brilliant team performance to overcome West Down Ladies in the final of the All Ireland Ladies Shield at the Cathedral Hall in Raphoe in the middle of February. Despite some hiccups, Donegal cruised to a 68 to 44 shots victory.

It was a good February for Fahan’s Nora Stapleton who on the first weekend of the month provided the pass for the winning score as the Ireland Women’s side snatched a dramatic late 22-15 away victory over Scotland in the opening match of the Six Nations. The sides were tied at 15-15 when outhalf Stapleton provided the final pass for Jenny Murphy to touch down close to the posts. Stapleton converted to make it a seven-point win for the visitors. Ireland also secured a bonus point victory by virtue of going over for four tries. The following Sunday Stapleton kicked seven points as Ireland made it back-to-back victories with a 27-3 win over Italy in Rome. And the Fahan woman kicked eight points as her country maintained their unbeaten start to the Six Nations with a third successive win this time 13-10 against France at Donnybrook.

Cranford A.C’s Bridie Trearty won a bronze medal at the Masters Cross Country Championships in Waterford. On the last day of February the LYIT Men’s Basketball team booked their place in the NBCC Men’s Division 2 All Ireland League Final following a superb 79-58 victory over Dublin Business School at the Port Road Campus.
But there was disappointment for Killybegs Vocational School’s U16 Girls who lost their All-Ireland C Final 40-30 to Castlerea C.S. (Roscommon) at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin.

There was disappointment for two Donegal boxers at the Irish Elite Finals in the National Stadium Dublin. St. Johnston’s Brett McGinty fighting in the colours of Oak Leaf B.C. Derry lost to Dean Walsh from Wexford in the 69kgs category on a unanimous decision while Illies Golden Gloves boxer Darryl Nolan, in the 49kgs section, was beaten on a split verdict by Blaine Dobbins of St. Joseph’s Derry.

Termon’s Geraldine McLaughlin late injury time point gave the Donegal senior ladies side a narrow 2-10 1-12 victory over hosts Galway to make it a good start to life back in Division 1 after the opening day win over Armagh the previous month. But a late Kerry goal saw Donegal lose very narrowly 2-13 to 2-12 at Rathmore in the third league match. And it was a similar story on the last Sunday of the month as Michael Naughton’s side lost to Dublin at Parnell Park by seven points (2-17 to 3-7).

At the beginning of February there was no shock at the O’Donnell Park as Kerry deservedly defeated Donegal in a National Football League Division 1 opener before a crowd of just over 6,000 at the Letterkenny venue. The following weekend Rory Gallagher’s men managed a narrow one-point win over Roscommon at Dr. Hyde Park. It took Eoin McHugh’s late score to deliver the precious two Division 1 League points. Then on the last Sunday of the month Michael’s Murphy sweetly struck free secured Donegal a deserved 2-5 to 1-8 draw against Dublin at McCumhaill Park.

There was a winning start in Division 3A of the National Hurling League for Donegal who comfortably defeated Louth 2-23 to 1-14 at the O’Donnell Park. But Ardal McDermott’s men then went down narrowly 1-21 to 3-14 to Monaghan in Castleblaney. On the first Saturday in February, representing JKS Ireland, three Rivers Shotokan Karate Club members Emma Dolan, Ciaran Crawford and Brodie Hannigan were crowned champions at the 26th North South Open Championships at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

At the end of the month Declan and Brian Boyle in a Ford Fiesta WRC finished second in the Nenagh Rally in Tipperary 59.1 seconds behind the winner Sam Moffett. Another Donegal driver Donagh Kelly with his Cavan co-driver James Fulton were third overall 36.1 seconds behind the Boyles.

For the first time in six years Fanad Utd were crowned Donegal Youth League champions clinching the title at Central Park against fellow contenders Keadue Rovers. The goals came from Michael Devine and Darren McElwaine in a 2-1 victory.

A John Matthews save and Shay Callan-McFadden’s successful spot-kick secured Swilly Rovers a place in the last eight of the FAI U16 National Cup in a penalty shoot-out against Kildare outfit Naas at the Flagpole in Rathmullan after the game had ended 1-1 at the end of extra-time before the Ramelton boys won 5-4 on penalties.

And there was also good news for the Swilly U16s as Finnian O’Donnell’s goal gave the Ramelton outfit a fabulous 1-0 win in the last 16 of the SFAI National Cup at Leixlip. At the AUL in Clonshaugh the Republic of Ireland U15s schools defeated Northern Ireland 7-1 with Neve Scanlon in goal and Culdaff’s Erin ‘Fildara’ McLaughlin getting the third goal in the big win. On the last Friday in February, Cork City left Ballybofey with all three points against Finn Harps on the opening night of the new League of Ireland Premier Division season thanks to ace striker Sean Maguire.

On the first day of February Sam Todd’s late goal helped Carndonagh Community School retain their FAI Schools Dr. Tony O’Neill Ulster Cup title with a 1-0 win over St. Eunan’s College. At the start of month there was category successes for Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Loreto Convent Letterkenny, Scoil Mhuire Buncrana and PCC Falcarragh at the inaugural Secondary Schools Sports Hall competitions held in Athlone. The St Eunan’s College team won the Ulster schools cross country championship.

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