Monthly Review

Donegal Sports Star Awards October Review

An October to remember for boxers

The Donegal Sports Star Awards October Review includes many of the highlights of a marvellous month for the county. And no doubt a number of these fine sporting achievements will be included in the list of nominees for the 2018 Donegal Sports Star Awards.

October was good in the ring with a massive success for 16-year-old Raphoe ABC fighter Leah Gallen who won a bronze medal at the European Junior Boxing Championships in Russia. Gallen then just missed out on a silver after losing on a 3-2 split decision to her Italian Miriam Tomasone opponent in a semi-final bout. Also in the ring Jason Quigley retained his NABF Middleweight title with a victory over Freddy Hernandez at Fantasy Springs, California. And in so doing the Twin Towns native maintained his unbeaten professional record that is now extended to 15 wins. Quigley’s victory over Hernandez was unanimous unanimous with the three judges scoring it (98-92, 98-92 and 99-91.

Staying on the international stage Convoy’s T.J. McMenamin won two gold and a silver medal at the annual London Fall International Open. His Rilon Gracie Jiu Jitsu Ireland colleague Brian Coyle took gold in the Master 1 Light Featherweight category.

It was a hectic week for Ballyshannon Marlin’s Swimming Club member Mona McSharry at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries where she was fourth in the 50m breaststroke in a season’s best time of 31.96 seconds. Then there were two more finals for McSharry but there was disappointment again as she missed out on a bronze medal in the women’s 100-metre breaststroke after having led for most of the race. The Marlins member then set a new Irish record of 25.42 seconds in the 50m freestyle semi-final. But, again there was to be no joy for McSharry as she finished fifth in the final of the 50m freestyle in a time of 25.54.

Loughros Point rower Patrick Boomer took fifth place at the World Offshore Rowing Championships in Sidney in Victoria, Canada. Last month Patrick won the solo category at the Irish Offshore Rowing Championships in Kerry.

Natasha Kelly finished fourth in her age category (25-29) at the European Duathlon Finals in Ibiza.

Dungloe man James Boyle scored but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Republic of Ireland team from losing 3-1 to Mexico in their opening game of the 2018 Amputee Football World Cup. The following day Boyle was involved again as the Irish lost 3-0 to England. But there was much better news for Boyle who scored twice in the final Group A game against Uruguay where a 4-1 saw the Irish qualify for the next stage of the Amputee Football World Cup competition.

On the last Saturday of the month, the Finn Harps U15s completed an historic League and Cup double with a 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers in the National League Final at Maginn Park. Joel Bradley Walsh and Gabriel Aduaka had Declan Boyle’s side 2-0 up at the break and an early second half Conor Black strike saw Harps secure a fantastic victory. The Finn Harps seniors also had a good October as goals from John Kavanagh and Nathan Boyle gave Finn Harps a 2-0 win over Drogheda in Ballybofey in the second leg of their Promotion Playoff, which left the aggregate score 3-1 in favour of Ollie Horgan’s side. A week earlier Boyle’s goal had secured Harps a crucial 1-1 away draw in the first leg of the promotion play-off against Drogheda Utd. Then a first half Paddy McCourt penalty gave Harps a 1-0 win over Limerick FC in the first leg of the SSE Airtricity League Promotion Relegation play-off in Ballybofey.

At the start of the month St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis scored the only goal of the game for his club Portsmouth in a 1-0 win away to Coventry City. The former Derry City player’s strike helped his side stay top of the English League 1 and extended the club’s unbeaten run to eleven games. Curtis was then named in the provisional panel Republic of Ireland senior squad for the UEFA Nations League double header against Denmark and Wales.

Ramelton’s Barry McNamee was a member of the Cork City who booked their place in the FAI Senior Cup Final after a 2-1 replay win over Bohemians at Turners Cross. Milford’s Amber Barrett grabbed the goal that put her club Peamount United into the Women’s FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium after a 2-1 semi final win over Shelbourne. Barrett also played the last 28 minutes as the Republic of Ireland senior women’s side went down to a heavy 4-0 defeat in Poland. At the end of October star forward ended up top scorer in the Women’s National League again after the Milford her hat-trick helped Peamount to hammer Cork City 9-1. Those three goals made it her seventh hat-trick of the campaign and took Barrett’s total to 30 for the season.

Burnfoot man Georgie Kelly was named as one of the three nominees for the PFA First Division Player of the Year. Striker Kelly starred with UCD in the First Division in the opening half of the season before moving to Premier outfit Dundalk in the July transfer window. Letterkenny lad Shane Blaney made his debut for Doncaster Rovers Checkatrade Trophy First Round win over Grimsby Town. Another Letterkenny man Dale Gorman started for Northern Ireland side who had a 1-0 away win in Iceland in European U21 Qualifiers

In athletics Milford AC’s Martin Kerr finished second in the Master Men’s 0/65 category in a time of 24:50 at the Autumn International Senior Cross-country and Masters trials in Abbotstown, Dublin. Kerr’s fine run saw him make the Irish team for the Home International Masters Cross-Country events in Swansea along with Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty who was second in the O40 category. Five Finn Valley athletes Barry Harron, Teresa Doherty, Catriona Devine, Kay Byrne and Noreen Bonner were also selected for the Irish Masters team. Young Tirconaill Gaels athlete Mia McCalmont finished a brilliant second in Abbottstown in the Athletics Ireland Open International Cross Country Invitational in the Junior U20 4,500m race.

Letterkenny AC’s Catriona Jennings was sixth overall and the second Irish woman across the finish line at the Dublin Marathon. Fellow Letterkenny AC member Anne Marie McGlynn set a new Donegal record and a personal best as she finished ninth in the female category at the Cardiff Half-Marathon in a time of 1 hour 13 minutes and 41 seconds.

The new cross country season got underway in Carndonagh with Letterkenny AC’s Karol Duggan recent, excellent road form continuing with victory on grass in a time of 14.32, which gave him 18 seconds to spare over Finn Valley AC’s Barry Harron. LAC team won Gold by 26 points from Milford AC in the M35-49 category. A week later it was an historic day for hosts Rosses AC who did the double in the Donegal Novice Championships at Mullaghderg as both the ladies and men’s teams were victorious.

October was good for Trentagh man Martin Harley as his recent good form continued winning on 7/1 shot Equimou in the Quantuma ´Season Finale´ Handicap at Salisbury for trainer Robert Eddery. Harley also had a third place finish in an earlier race on Aweedram. Then Harley had another win this time on 15/8 shot Caspar The Cub in the Maiden Stakes at Kempton Park. Harley came very close to a second success at Kempton on 66/1 shot Pipes Of Peace only losing out by a short head. Harley made it 73 wins for the season by taking Olympian to victory in the Aptus Investment Fund Maiden Stakes at Newmarket. And the Trentagh man had a 7/1 winner on Luxor at Newbury in the Sir Gerald Whent Memorial Nursery Handicap. Ballyare jockey Conor Orr was a winner on Oh’herewego in the 3m Handicap Hurdle in Tipperary. It was his third winner in the space of a month. Rathmullan lad Luke McAteer rode the Jim Bolger trained Vocal Music to victory in an Apprentice Handicap in Navan.

On the first Thursday of October and despite a fine performance Kilmacrennan teenager Rhys Irwin missed out on a place in the Red Bull Rookies series for 2109 at Guadix in Spain. Irwin had made the final 32 and came close to making next year’s series. Rhys was the only Irish motorcyclist to make the live testing event. The only other Irish rider ever to make the last 32 of the global competition was remarkably his older brother Caolan. Then at Brands Hatch for the final round of the British Superbikes Rhys Irwin suffered a major motorcycling engine failure on the Saturday. Without a spare engine Rhys thought his weekend was over but in a last minute offer of a borrowed engine he was allowed to start the race from 32nd place at the back of the grid. With conditions treacherous and driving rain Rhys took a brilliant third place. It was a great end to his first season on the Moto 3 leaving him a very strong seventh place overall in the Championship. Meanwhile older brother Caolán in the 600 Championship had another outstanding weekend. With riding conditions unsafe in the heavy downpour Caolán rocketed home in sixth place in one of the hottest contested championships of the BSB season leaving him an unbelievable ninth place overall in the competition.

Another talented Kilmacrennan motorcyclist Richard Kerr had a super weekend at the Dickies British Supersport Championship where he had his best result of the season. Kerr riding the Campbell Motorsport Triumph finished in 13th position on the Saturday but saved his best result of the year in Sunday’s final race of the series taking a fantastic sixth place. A week later the 18-year-old enjoyed another good weekend at the Sunflower Trophy Motorcycle Races in Bishopscourt where he competed on the Triumph for the first time. In Race 1 the Kilmacrennan youngster finished second and was third in Race 2

In the middle of the month Leitirmacaward’s Declan Boyle won a third Triton Showers National Rally Championship title after an eighth place finish in the Donegal Harvest Stages Rally which was won by Monaghan’s Sam Moffett in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Moffett’s brother Josh was second in a Fiesta WRC followed by Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus) Joseph McGonigle in fourth in a BMW Mini. Ballybofey’s Damian Tourish and Domhail McAlaney won the Fastnet Rally in Bantry County Cork in their Ford Escort MkII by a margin of 21 seconds.

At the end of the month there was a great start for Sam and Chloe Magee, representing Ireland, at the Saarlorlux Open in Germany as the Raphoe siblings won their opening round of the mixed doubles 21-10 21-12 against Hess/Kuspert of Germany.
Paul Reynolds and Raphoe’s Rachael Darragh defeated Zbinden/Fankhauser of Switzerland 21-14 21-18 in their first round match. Sam and Chloe’s brother Joshua Magee kept the Irish winning streak going in Germany with a 21-19 21-15 win over Wolfgang Gnedt of Austria.

The Fabplus North West Senior Women’s Basketball side had a 77-72 away win over Belfast Phoenix Rockets in their second game of the Basketball Ireland ’s new Women’s Division 1 season. St Johnston lad’s Brett McGinty’s hopes of success at the Elite Liventsev Memorial Tournament in Minsk, Belarus ended in early disappointment at the quarter final stage losing out in his 75kg bout against Giorgi Kharabadze with the judges scoring it 4-1 win in favour of the Georgian.

On the first Sunday of October there was another big success for Glenswilly’s Mary Devine at the Cavan Equestrian Centre where she rode her horse Wolansky to a class win at the Dressage Ireland National Championships in the Medium Category 2.

In GAA St. Eunan’s won the Donegal Senior Football Championship C title after a 2-12 to 1-8 win over Glenfin in Ballybofey while Red Hughs took the Donegal Junior A Football Championship title thanks to a 4-09 to 0-05 win over Urris in the O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny with James Carlin scoring all four goals. Joe McKelvey’s Killygordon then advanced to the semi-finals of the Ulster Club Football Championship after beating Con Magee’s Glenravel 3-8 to 0-8 away in Antrim.

The Glenfin Ladies secured their place in the Ulster Ladies Senior Football Championship Final after a 3-17 to 1-15 home win over Bredagh of Down. On the same weekend the Glenfin men were crowned Donegal Intermediate Football Champions after a 1-10 to 0-07 win over Aodh Ruadh at MacCumhaill Park. Karl McGlynn scored a crucial early goal for the winners.

On the same day Aodh Ruadh Ballyshanon won the Donegal Intermediate B Football Championship Final at MacCumhaill Park defeating Cloughaneely 1-06 to 0-07. St. Eunan’s took the Donegal Senior B Champions for 2018 following a 3-13 to 0-10 victory over Naomh Conaill at MacCumhaill Park with the goals coming from Eunan’s captain Mick Martin, Niall Hannigan and Eoin McGeehan.

And Gweedore were crowned Donegal Senior Football Champions after a 0-17 to 1-07 win over Naomh Conaill in MacCumhaill Park with Man of the Match Ódhrán MacNiallais scoring eight points. In doing so the Magheragallon men set a new record of winning 15 senior titles, one ahead of St. Eunan’s.

St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny had a big victory over St Marys CBS, Belfast 6-10 to 2-05 to top their group in the final game of this phase of the Loch an Iúir Cup in Garvaghey. St Eunan’s College also made a wining return to the MacRory Cup with a 2-8 to 2-5 victory over Patrician College, Carrickmacross in a game played at Drumragh, Tyrone. Colm Anthony McFadden’s boys bounced back from a poor start with two first half Conor O’Donnell penalties giving Eunan’s a 2-4 to 2-2 lead at the break.

The Michael Murphy managed Letterkenny IT secured their place in the Higher Education GAA Senior Football League 2 quarter-finals after drawing with Dundalk Institute of Technology on a final score of 4-11 to 2-17 at the O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny. The LYIT got four goals with St. Michael’s and Donegal senior player Michael Langan finding the net late on to secure the draw.

Tir Chonaill Gaels won the London Senior Football Championship replay 0-15 to 0-13 against Fulham Irish at McGovern Park. It was the club’s 17th time to take the senior title and among the Donegal players involved were Brendan Friel (Termon), Benny McGarvey (Dungloe), Sean Burke (Glenswilly) and David O’Donnell (Burt) . The success also meant a unique achievement for Glenswilly native Shaun Burke who has now won championship medals in four different countries. Burke has a senior medal with Glenswilly from two years ago. Back in 2003 USA the defender was on the Intermediate winning USA side Parnells, Chicago. Then in Australia in 2011 Shaun picked up a senior medal with St. Finbarrs, Perth. Burke came on as a first half substitute for Tirconaill Gaels in the London final. Donegal county hurling player and Setanta clubman Danny Cullen was a member of the Ireland squad that had a 1-11 to 1-10 win over Scotland in the Hurling/Shinty International in Inverness. It was Ireland’s first win in the series since 2014.

At the start of October there was a big disappointment for Ballybofey and Stranolar Golf Club team who lost their All Ireland Mixed Foursomes Final in Dublin 3 -2 to Portumna from Galway.

In hockey there was a couple of good results for the Raphoe Ladies 1s XV who advanced to the second round of the Irish Hockey Trophy after a 3-1 away win over Rainey, a side that is a division above them Ulster and they extended their excellent unbeaten start to the season with a fifth league win. This time it was a 4-2 victory over KV Ladies at the Royal and Prior School Grounds. Meanwhile the Raphoe Men’s 1s XV produced a strong second half show to secure a 5-3 home league win over Belfast Harlequins.

15-year-old Eoin Grady from Woodlands, Letterkenny won the 2018 Ulster Karting Championship. Eoin who was racing in the Rotax Junior-Max class and at Nutts Corner Circuit in Antrim took the title in the final round of the Ulster Kart Club (UKC) Championship.

There was plenty of medal success for the Three Rivers Shotokan Club at the Onakai National Amateur Karate Association of Ireland Junior Kumite Championships at the Tallaght Leisure Centre. There was gold for Kodi Connolly, Ciaran Crawford and Brodie Hannigan. Lauren Wallace, Mark Doherty and Eoin Crawford won silver while there was bronze for Tommy Porter and Caoimhe Dolan.

On the last Saturday of October, Letterkenny lad Conor McMenamin made his All Ireland League debut for City of Derry in a 27-10 away defeat to Bangor in Division 2C. Last season’s Ulster’s Youth Player of the Year is the reigning Donegal Sports Star Rugby Award winner.

Tony McNamee’s penalty on 82 minutes earned the Ulster Senior League a share of the spoils in their final game of the 2018 FAI Intermediate Inter-League Tournament. The 2-2 draw saw the USL just miss out on second place by virtue of Leinster’s superior goal difference over the three games of the weekend. McNamee got both goals for Anthony Gorman’s side having got an early opener before Leinster bounced back to go 2-1 in front.

Milford Utd won the Brian McCormick Area Final after a sudden death 6-5 penalty shoot-out against Bonagee Utd at the Dry Arch. Finn Harps Football Club Academy players Luke McGlynn and Conor Campbell were included in the Republic of Ireland U15 squad for the international games against Poland next month. Letterkenny Rovers and Bonagee Utd booked their places in the national stages of the FAI Intermediate Cup after big wins over Cockhill Celtic and Swilly Rovers respectively.
Donegal Sports Star Awards September Review
Super September athletic successes

Athletics, motorsport, soccer, powerlifting, motocycling, kayaking, cycling and horseracing all feature in the Donegal Sports Star Awards September review. And those successes will no doubt be among the nominations being submitted for this year’s awards which open on the 22nd of October.

It was a very good month for athletics with impressive international achievements and there were also a couple of excellent results on the home stage. In the middle of September Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty won a bronze medal in the M40 3,000m Steeplechase at the World Masters Track & Field Championships in Malaga in a time of 9.28.30. Also in Malaga Finn Valley AC’s Noreen Bonner and Gloria Donaghey, representing Ireland, won silver medals in the Over-55 Half-Marathon. At the same championships Finn Valley AC’s Brian O’Domhnaill was sixth in the 20k Race Walk. Also abroad Milford’s AC’s Marty Lynch recorded a fantastic time of 2.36.13 in the Berlin Marathon. That was over 10 minutes better than his time for the Dublin Marathon last October. At home Letterkenny Athletic Club’s Karol Duggan took a bronze medal in his first Half Marathon in Belfast clocking 1.11.10. Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Anne-Marie McGlynn won the women’s Waterside Half Marathon in Derry in a time of 1.17.01 which was a new course record.

It was a September to remember for Letterkenny co-driver Rory Kennedy and his partner Garry Jennings who had two big successes in France winning the 41st Rallye Bethunois and in the Rallye Charlemagnein in their Impreza WRC three weeks apart.

In martial arts Edyta Piechowicz won two gold medals in the squat and deadlift for the Finn Valley Viking Fit Club at the European Single Lift Championships in Dublin. There was also success for her club colleague Caroline Dolan who won silver in the deadlift. The Three Rivers Shotokan Club from Lifford had a good weekend at the CIKA Ireland International Open in Tallaght taking home five gold, six silver and a bronze medal.

St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis continued his impressive football form by scoring the Republic of Ireland equaliser in an away U21 international qualifier against Kosovo. As a result the 22-year-old was called up to the Irish senior squad for the friendly in Poland. Milford woman Amber Barrett helped Peamount Utd to a 2-1 victory over favourites Wexford Youths in the Continental Tyres League Cup Final played at Ferrycarrig Park. It was a good month for Finn Harps as their seniors secured second place for the promotion play-offs and the U17 team made history by being first underage team from the club to win a national title thanks to a 1-0 win over Cork City in Ballybofey courtesy of a late penalty from skipper Darragh Ellison. Harps U19 player Michael Gallagher came on as a sub for the Republic of Ireland in an international friendly against Wales at the City Calling Stadium in Longford while Harps U15s Fionnan Coyle and Daniel Gildea were second subs for the Republic of Ireland U16 side who had a 4-2 win over Bulgaria in an international friendly played in Sofia.

It was a busy month for Kilmacrennan motorcyclists Caolán and Rhys Irwin and Richard Kerr. The Irwins were both in action at Oulton Park in the UK. Caolan continued his good form on the British Superbike Championship finishing in a solid eighth position. Younger brother Rhys also put in a solid weekend in the Moto 3 British Superbikes Championship with a fifth place finish. Undoubtedly the September highlight for Caolán was winning his first ever Dunlop Masters Supersport Championship race at Mondello Park and he also picked up his fourth runner up finish of the season.

Richard Kerr had a a good outing in the Dickies Supersport Championships at Silverstone with two 13th place finishes. Then the Kilmacrennan teenager had a 12th place finish on a difficult weekend at Oulton Park Chesire for the 10th round of the British Superbike Championship (BSB). On the last weekend of the month Kerr was in action at the world famous Assen circuit In Holland for the penultimate round of the BSB. On a difficult weekend Kerr had to settle for 25th and 15th places in his two races.

On the last Saturday of the month here was a gold medal for Bruckless kayaker and Donegal Canoe Club member Edward Broekaart at the Liffey Descent in Dublin. Edward’s success came in the B category Class K1.

On the bike Letterkenny man Gerard Callaghan finished fourth in the Irish Ultra Cycle Challenge.

It as another very successful month for Letterkenny teenage jockey Dylan Browne-McMonagle who saddled two more winners at the Glenbeigh meeting in Kerry to put the Letterkenny teenager on a total of 73 for the season. Then Browne McMonagle travelled to Ballylongford in Co Kerry and and with only four mounts on the bumper 9-race card he managed to boot home a treble and make the long journey very worthwhile bringing his tally to 75 for the season. On the last Sunday of September, Dylan just missed out on making history at a horserace meeting in Athena Limerick. The talented jockey had two firsts but ended up one short of the record of 78 wins set by Emmet McNamara over ten years ago. Unfortunately the 2018 season is now over so Dylan cannot now break that record.

Staying with horseracing and Trentagh jockey Martin Harley’s fine season continued as he rode 7/1 shot Politicise to victory in the Racegoers Club 50th Anniversary EBF Novice Stakeswas back at Newbury.

There was good news for Letterkenny Blaze player Shannon Cunningham was included in the Under-16 women’s basketball squad for the new season which starts with a tournament in the Belarus city of Minsk in December.

Illies Golden Gloves fighter Cathal Browne won the Ulster Heavyweight Boxing Final at Belfast’s Docklands Club on a 4-1 judges decision against Cavan’s Thomas Maughan. Young St. Johnston boxer Brett McGinty was named in an Irish boxing team for an international tournament in Belarus next month. McGinty, a member of Oakleaf ABC in Derry. On the last Friday of the month Dunfanaghy ABC’s Bernie McDonagh made his Ireland boxing debut against a German selection in a Schoolboy and Youth international at the National Stadium in Dublin. However, it ended in disappointment as McDonagh lost out to his German opponent Denis Bril 4-1 in the Schoolboys international. Ireland defeated Germany 9-5.

In GAA, Donegal’s outstanding young footballer Eoghan Ban Gallagher was named on the Sunday Game Team of the Year. And the accolades didn’t stop there for the Killybegs clubman as he joined Ryan McHugh and Michael Murphy on the 2018 Irish News Ulster All-Star team. Gallagher, McHugh and Murphy were also all nominated for the 2018 All-Star team. Gweedore and Bundoran won the respective Division 1 and 2 league titles. There was great news for ladies football and Yvonne Bonner who was awarded a Rookie Contract to play Australian Rules Football with the Greater Western Sydney Giants for the 2019 season. McMonagle was in Australis when her club Glenfin made it back-to-back Donegal Senior Football championship titles with a 4-7 to 3-7 win over Moville at the O’Donnell Park. However, the star forward did return just the day before the semi-final of the Ulster Football Championship. Bonner and Katie Herron both scored 2-4 as the Glenfin marched into the last four thanks to a big 5-12 to 0-11 victory over Cavan side Lurgan at Parc Taobhoige. On the last Sunday of September Glenswilly, Gweedore, Naomh Conaill and McCumhaills secured their places in the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship.

In the middle of September Letterkenny won the Donegal Senior Golf Championship overcoming Rosapenna in a dramatic finish at Barnhill.

In hockey it was a good month for the Raphoe Senior Ladies who made it back-to-back wins in the Ulster Cup thanks to a 2-0 success over Portadown and then finished top of their group in the Ulster Cup after a 5-1 win over Castle.

On Saturday 1st September Burt won the Donegal Senior Hurling Championship Final by 3-14 to 1-14 against Setanta at the O’Donnell Park.

Two Letterkenny lads Harry Worth and Conor McMenamin along with Carndonagh’s Stephen Kelly were members of the Ulster U19 rugby squad that a 33-17 win over Connacht.

In soccer Letterkenny’s Dale Gorman was a second half sub for the Northern Ireland U21s who had a shock and historic 2-1 Euro Qualifier victory over Spain in Albacete.

Finn Harps hope of winning the League of Ireland First Division ended at Belfield as the 1-1 draw for their opponents UCD secure the title for the Students. Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps continued their fantastic league form after a big 7-1 win over Cabinteely in the final game of the regulation season in Ballybofey. Harps had already secured second place in the First Division but the Cabinteely win extended the club’s unbeaten run out to 10 games thanks to goals from Paddy McCourt, Mikey Place with two, Jesse Devers. Aidan Friel, Nathan Boyle and Jacob Borg.

In the middle of the month Aidy Delap and Shane McNamee, who just recently signed their first professional contracts, got their senior careers of a terrific start after coming on as substitutes during Derry City’s 3-1 EA League Cup Final win over Cobh Ramblers at the Brandywell. Delap from Ray, Rathmullan came on as a 75th minute sub. McNamee was an injury-time sub after Cobh missed a late penalty. After a frustrating first season Ciara McGarvey’s equaliser gave the Donegal Women’s U17 side their first point in the National League in a 1-1 draw with Athlone Town at Lissywoolen. Cockhill Celtic players Peter Doherty and Jimmy Bradley were in the starting 11 for a Republic of Ireland Regions Cup side that drew 1-1 with English outfit North Riding in their final UEFA Regions qualifying match in Romania.

Donegal Sports Star Awards August Review
Successful August for Donegal sport

It was another successful month for Donegal sport and particularly for women who medalled on the national stage and abroad. Among the highlights noted in the Donegal Sports Star Awards review was McCumhaill’s Avril McNameeandball champion in the USA after defeating Ellen O’Connor from Wexford in an all-Irish final on a score of 21-0, 21-2. On the last day of the month, Letterkenny girl Megan Keown enjoyed a big success at the Gunther Stapfer Memorial Tournament in Austria taking a third place in her weightlifting category. Megan a member of the CrossFit Club in Letterkenny was on the Irish Youth & Junior lifters team who competed at the 25th annual event hosted by WSV/ASTV Ranshofen. She is now ranked 12th Europe.

In swimming the Ballyshannon Marlins Club member Mona McSharry reached the 100m breastroke swimming semi final at the European Championships in Glasgow. And on the first Saturday of the month there was gold for Finn Valley AC’s Daniella Jansen who was a member of the Ireland U18 4x400m relay at the Celtic Games in Scotland. The Killygordon girl ran the second leg of the race. Staying with athletics, Finn Valley AC’s Brendan Boyce finished 19th in the 50km walk at the European Championships in Berlin in a time of four hours, two minutes and 14 seconds. However, there was disappointment for Mark English who failed in his bid to make the 800m Final at the same Championships in Berlin.

Letterkenny AC’s Catriona Jennings won the National Half Marathon Championships in Dublin in a time of 1.22.25 and 29 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Her Letterkenny AC colleague Ciaran McGonagle won the Donegal Half-Marathon in a time of 1:15:58. And another LAC member Monica McGranaghan took the women’s category clocking 1:29.24.

The impressive Raphoe ABC fighter Leah Gallen won the Irish Cadet Boxing Championship title at the National Stadium in Dublin, stopping Sophia Hopkova in the third round. In martial arts Burnfoot’s Tristan Logue won his Jiu Jitsu division at the National League Finals. In the final the 13-year-old defeated a higher graded and older opponent.

The remarkable sporting achievements of Twins Towns man Oisin Merritt continued as he was a member of the Republic of Ireland Cerebral Palsy team who claimed a bronze medal at the 2018 IFCPF European Championships in the Netherlands. Oisin who had sustained serious head injuries from a fall in Spain four years ago helped Ireland to a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. Merritt had played his part as Ireland topped the group after wins over Denmark, Northern Ireland and Germany.

St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis made a fine start to his professional career in England as he was on the mark twice with his first two goals for new club Portsmouth who defeated Blackpool 2-1 in a League One away fixture. Curtis just moved to the Pompey’s at the end of June from Derry City. Amber Barrett’s hot scoring streak continued in early August as the Milford woman hit the net four times for Peamount Utd in a 6-2 home league win over UCD. Barrett and Tyler Toland were also members of the Republic of Ireland senior women’s squad who had a 4-0 victory over Northern Ireland in a final World Cup qualifier game at the Tallaght Stadium. The team’s chance of making the finals had gone before this game but it was nonetheless a good finish to the campaign with St. Johnston’s Toland in the starting 11 while Barrett came on as a late second half sub.

Outstanding young jockey Dylan Browne-McMonagle was crowned champions jockey for the third year running at the famous Dingle Race Festival after saddling an amazing nine winners at the meeting. The Letterkenny teenager followed that up with four firsts in Mayo while on the last Sunday of the month McMonagle rode his 70th winner of the season at Hillsborough in Ramelton. His treble left him just six short of the record of 76. Another young jockey Brandon Wilkie McGlinchey from Letterkenny saddled three winners at a race meeting in Ballyconneely in Co Galway.

In motorsport Pettigo man Kevin Eves and Chris Melly won the the Ulster National Rally in Antrim. The Donegal crew were first in the national section of the rally in an escort. Despite only finishing second at the Tipperary Rally, Declan Boyle and James O’Reilly still remained overall leaders of the National Championships.

Cloughaneely won Rowing Club of the Championship at the All-Ireland Coastal Finals held at Ferrybank, Co. Wexford. They took home a total of 21 gold medals and ten bronze in the men’s, women’s and mixed categories.

On the first Sunday in August there was major disappointment for the Donegal senior football team who suffered a 2-17 to 1-13 defeat at the hands of Tyrone in Ballybofey in a Super 8s quarter-final. Declan Bonner’s men were four points ahead with 17 minutes of normal time remaining but then caved in as the Red Hand County romped home to an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Tyrone.

And on the same weekend dreams of a first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Final for the Donegal Ladies ended after a 2-11 to 0-11 loss to Cork at Dr. Hyde Park in Roscommon. The side managed by Maxi Curran and Damian Devaney struggled to recover from the concession of a 19th minute goal. It was a bad weekend all round for Donegal teams as the Masters missed out on a place in the All-Ireland Final after a narrow one-point defeat to Dublin in a replay at Lacken in Co. Cavan. In hurling Setanta won the All-Ireland Kilmacuds Sevens Shield title in Dublin.

Kilmacrennan teenager Richard Kerr earned eight valuable points after his fine performances over two days in Thruxton, UK at the Dickies Supesport Championships which runs alongside the British Superbike Championships. At the same venue another young Kilmac man Caolan Irwin finished ninth in the Superstock 600 class and which left him in eighth place overall in the championship. His younger brother Rhys had eight and ninth place finishes in his two races.

On the first day of the month, Letterkenny Rovers won the Ulster Youth Cup Final thanks to a 2-0 win over Dunfanaghy at Dry Arch Park. Ramelton native Conrad Logan enjoyed a super start as his club Mansfield had a 3-0 win over Newport County at the One Call Stadium in their opening League 2 game of the new season. It was a special weekend for Ramelton brothers Shane and Barry McNamee who both scored for two different clubs in the FAI Senior Cup. Shane got his first senior goals, hitting the net twice, for Derry in a record breaking 12-2 away win over Blarney Utd. Meanwhile, Barry was also on the mark as Cork comfortably advanced to the second round with a 5-1 victory over non-league Home Farm in Dublin. Leitirmacaward’s Karl McHugh was on the mark for Motherwell in an exciting 3-3 home draw with Rangers in a Scottish Premier Division game.

August was very good for Finn Harps whose fine form continued with a 3-0 win over Wexford FC in Ballybofey as Ciaran Gallagher kept another clean sheet. Ollie Horgan’s side then came from behind to book a place in the second round of the FAI Senior Cup thanks to a 3-1 extra-time win over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds with the goals coming from Sam Todd, Mikey Place and Jacob Borg with his first for the club. In the middle of the month Harps moved closer to a promotion play-off place thanks to a 3-1 away win over Athlone Town at Lissywollen

As expected Horgan’s men bowed out of the FAI Senior Cup after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Premier Division leaders Dundalk at Oriel Park where Burnfoot native Georgie Kelly got his debut goal for the hosts. But Harps bounced back to guarantee themselves a promotion play-off place thanks to a 2-0 win over Galway Utd at Finn Park where Mikey Place and Mark Timlin got the all important goals.

At underage level the Finn Harps U17s secured their place in the Mark Farren Cup Final thanks to a 3-2 extra-time win over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds. But there was disappointment for the the Harps U19 side who lost 3-1 to St. Patrick’s Athletic in the Enda McGuill Cup Final in Ballybofey.

There was success for young Donegal teams at the Ulster-Connacht Surf/Lifesaving Championships in Rossnowlagh. The Junior Girls took a gold, silver and two joint bronze medals. Letterkenny man Aidan Callaghan was first in his age category and seventh overall in the Dun Laoghaire Triathlon.

Donegal Sports Star Awards July Review
July joy for Donegal’s sporting stars

The Donegal Sports Star Awards July review highlights an array of fantastic successes for the county.

Sunday the 15th of July is a date that Sommer Lecky and the Finn Valley Athletic Club will treasurer forever as a High Jump of 1.90m saw her claim a brilliant silver medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Also on the global stage Carndonagh man Garett Doherty won two golds and a silver at the Retro Running World Championships in Bologna, Italy. The 40-year-old won gold in both the 800m and 1,500m event while he took silver in the 3,000m in the Master 1 category.

On the last Sunday of July and for the fifth successive year Mark English won the 800m Irish National Athletics Championships title in a time of 1:50.81 at Santry. At the same championships, there was silver for Letterkenny AC’s Darren McBrearty in the 1500m and bronze for James Kelly in the shot-putt. There was silver for Tirconaill AC’s Geraldine Stewart in the Masters Shot Putt while club colleague Kelly McGrory took silver in the 400m hurdles in Santry.

It was a good month for Darren McBrearty who had earlier won the 800m event at the British Milers Club Meet at Sutcliffe Park, South East London, completing the two laps in a superb time of 1.52.44. And he followed that up by finishing third in the 800m race at the GV Ryan/Irish Milers Club meeting in Irishtown, Dublin.

There was success for another Letterkenny AC member Catriona Jennings who won the Irish Runner 10 Mile in Dublin in a time of 61.21. Lifford Strabane AC’s Brendan O’Donnell broke the Donegal senior hammer record at the North Down Open Athletics Meet Bangor with a throw of 58.71 metres . The 18-year-old beat the previous best of 56.09m. Letterkenny 24/7 Triathlon member Sean McFadden won the Hazlewood Standard event in Sligo in a time of 2.13.21.

On the last weekend of July Bundoran Board Riders Eoin Lally won the U18 European International Skinboard Championship in Santa Cruz, Portugal. Staying in the water the Swilly Seals Club created their own little of bit history as two of their swimmers won medals at the Irish National Swimming Championships. The club’s first ever national medal came when Cody Dunnion took silver in the 400 Individual Medley and he went onto win three bronze medals as well. Meanwhile, Molly Nulty became the first female to win a medal for Swilly Seals at the National Championships when she took silver in the 200m Breaststroke

The July GAA highlights came via both the Donegal senior men’s and women’s sides. There was a brilliant personal performance from Michael Murphy which included nine points (five from play) helping Donegal defeat Roscommon 0-20 to 0-13 at Dr. Hyde Park in their second Super 8 Group 2 match to setup a quarter-final decider against Tyrone.

The Ladies matched their male counterparts as Geraldine McLaughlin scored eight points to help Donegal reach the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Football Championship after a 1-13 to 3-6 win over Kerry at Dr Hyde Park meaning that the Ulster champions would avoid a clash with reigning champions Dublin in the last eight.

It was a month to remember for Letterkenny teenager Dylan Browne McMonagle and it started on the first day of July as he kept on track for the All Ireland Jockey’s title at Abbeyfeale in Limerick with two more winners. The following weekend, over two days Browne McMonagle recorded the 100th winner of his career in Shanahoe Co Laois. It all started on the Saturday in Ramelton where he had four winners aboard Four Stone Of Lead, Five Stone Of Lead, Let Him Go and Athea Jade taking him to 98 wins. Then on the Sunday in the Midlands venue of Shanahoe, Dylan recorded winner 99 on Waratah before reaching the century on Omega and he completed a treble by taking Half Price home first. Browne McMonagle followed that up with a long trip to Broadford Co Limerick and rode four winners’. On the last Sunday of July, history was made at the Big Isle race meeting in Manorcunningham as Dylan rode eight winners. He was crowned champion jockey on the day and was presented with the the Tom McLaughlin Memorial Trophy

Ballyare lad Oisin Orr won the feature race, the EOS IT Solutions Handicap, at Dundalk on Alfredo Arcano. Orr was riding for Royal Ascot-winning trainer David Marnane. Over at Newbury in the UK, Trentagh jockey Harley was a winner on Alan King’s Outofthequestion in the Parkway Shopping Handicap. It took Harley’s total to 53 winners for the year. It was a successful month for Harley as he also won at Wolverhampton riding the 15/2 shot Laubali to first place for trainer David O’Meara. And the Trentagh jockey followed that up in Nottingham by being first across the line on the Alan King-trained Seaborough in the Best Racing Odds On Smarkets Handicap. The following day the Trentagh native had wins at Linfield and Sandown for Alan. Harley took victory in the Oilfield Offshofdre Underwriting Handicap at Lingfield on King’s Giving Glances and then in the evening at Sundown, he was first across line on Just In Time.

In soccer Milford woman Amber Barrett grabbed one of the goals as Peamount United advanced to the final of the Continental Tyres WNL League Cup. On the last weekend of July the Gallaghers brothers from Glenswilly both won Ulster Youth Cycling Championship titles in Portadown. Cathal was first across the line in the U16 TT and Road Race while younger sibling Conor took the U14 TT and Road Race gold.

In the first two Sundays of the month the Donegal Derry Vipers had a big 53-6 win over the Galway Warriors at the Limavady Rugby Club grounds while it was a bit closer in overcoming the Antrim Jets 14–3 at Colaiste Ailgh in Letterkenny. But the Vipers’ missed out on a place in the IAFL final after losing 24-8 to the West Dublin Rhinos in Limavady.

On the first Tuesday of July, Chloe and Sam Magee suffered defeat at the Indonesian Open going down 2-0 (21-12 21-14) to the sixth seeds, Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen from Denmark. Then on the end July Sam and Chloe Magee secured their place in the second round of the BWF World Championships in China. The Raphoe siblings defeated Norwegian pair Fredrik Kristensen and Solvar Flaten Jørgensen 21-13 21-8 at the Olympic Sports Centre in Nanjing.

In boxing on the last Friday of July, Jessica Clarke of Carndonagh ABC suffered defeat in the National U18 51kgs final against Immaculata, Belfast’s Caitlin Fryers at the National Stadium in Dublin on a 4-1 decision.

On Sunday the 1st of July St. Johnston created a bit of a shock by defeating league leaders Killyclooney.

On the GAA front the Donegal Masters unbeaten run came to an end when losing 1-13 to 0-13 to Cavan in the All-Ireland Championship away in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan. Val Murray’s men had won all four league fixtures prior to the Cavan trip. Ryan McHugh was named Ulster GAA Writers Award winner for July after helping Donegal win the Ulster Championship title. He scored a crucial first half goal in the win over Fermanagh in Clones.

On the motorbikes were Kilmacrennan brothers Rhys and Caolán Irwin who were on Scotland’s’ Knockhill circuit for the first time. Rhys finished the weekend with his best result of the season in the Moto3 class while Caolán had a top ten finish in Superstock 600. Another Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr was happy with his weekend at Knockhill in the fifth round of the Dickies Supersport Championship that runs alongside the British Superbike Championship (BSB). After the16 lapper Richard finished in 18th position. In the second race Richard finished in 14th position overall and 12th in his class and overall he picked up four championship points.

In the last week of July there was good news for Letterkenny native Joe Dunleavy who was named in the Ulster Rugby Academy squad for the new season. It will be the second year in the academy for Dunleavy, who impressed for Ireland at the World U20 Rugby Championship in France. The 19-year-old flanker plays with Malone in Belfast having played underage with his local Letterkenny Rugby Club.

It was a very good July for Finn Harps. It started with a late winner from sub John O’Flynn which moved Ollie Horgan’s side up to fourth in the League of Ireland First Division table after an excellent 1-0 away win at Drogheda United. A week later Oluwatunmise ‘Timmie’ Sobowale scored on his debut as Harps moved into third spot thanks to a fine 3-0 win over Longford Town at Finn Park. Nathan Boyle had got the opener just before the break and Mikey Place doubled the advantage from the penalty-spot. Then Horgan’ men had to settle for a 0-0 in Ballybofey against fellow promotion contenders Shelbourne and on the last Saturday of the month a Mikey Place penalty gave Harps all three points in a 1-0 over Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman’s Park, moving Ollie Horgan’s side into joint second place with Drogheda United and boosting their ambitions of a place in the promotion play-offs.

Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin was one of the nominees for the Continental Tyres Women’s National League Player of the Month award. The Shelbourne midfielder’s performances had helped the team to stay in contention for the league title.

In the middle of July, Donegal Town lad Jack Keaney scored the first goal as Sligo Rovers secured a much needed 3-0 away win over Bohemians in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

There was disappointment for the Donegal Women’s U17 team who lost 5-2 to Athone Town at Dry Arch Park in their debut game in the brand new National League.

Glenties girl Amy Boyle-Carr was a member of the Republic of Ireland Women’s U19 squad that played two friendly games drawing against a Northern Ireland selection and losing 2-0 against an England representative side during a training camp in the UK.

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.
Donegal Sports Star Awards May Review
May success abroad for Donegal sport

The May Donegal Sports Star Awards review highlights a number of super international successes in swimming and athletics for the county. The Ballyshannon Marlins Club member Mona McSharry won three gold medals for Ireland at the World Schools Games in Morocco. The golds came in the team 4x100m Freestyle, 50m Breastroke and 4x100m Individual Medley Relay.

Also abroad Gortahork man Brian O’Domhnaill, a member of Finn Valley AC, won an individual silver in the 30k Walk and bronze in the team event for Ireland at the European Masters Championships in Alicante, Spain. And staying with athletics Brendan Boyce produced an excellent performance to finish 17th at the World Race Walking Team Championships in China.

On the national stage Lifford/Strabane athlete Brendan O’Donnell set a new personal best of 67.68m in the Men’s Hammer at the Leevale Open Sports in Cork. Also in May O’Donnell set a new record in the Senior Boys Hammer, throwing 63.32. at the Ulster Schools Final at the Antrim Forum. The following day at the same championships his club colleague Adrienne Gallen set a new record of 10.63m in the Minor Girls Shot Putt.

Meanwhile Martin McLucas, Pauric McKinney and Finbarr Gallagher were members of the first Inishowen AC team to win the National 10k Championship in Dublin. In motorsport on the first weekend in May, Donal Barrett and Manus Kelly, on their first outing of the season, had a super win at the Killarney Rally of the Lakes in their Subaru Impreza with 29 seconds to spare in the end over Bob Barrable and Damien Connolly in a Fiesta.

There were Irish titles for two Donegal female boxers during the month. Dunree ABC boxer Breda Collins won the 43ks title at the Irish Championships staged at Dublin’s National Stadium. And at the same venue Raphoe Boxing Club’s Leah Gallen won the Irish Junior 1 66kg Category.

On the first Sunday of the month Kilmacrennan lad Richard Kerr got his opening points on the board at the Supersport Championship in Oulton Park, UK. Then at the end of May Kilmacrennan’s Caolan Irwin finished sixth in the 600 BSB Championship race at Donington Park in the UK.

It was a good month for underage girls GAA with the Donegal U15 Girls winning the Ulster Football title after an easy 5-17 to 1-5 victory over Down at Drumragh. Then the Donegal U16 Ladies took a provincial title after a 4-10 to 0-5 victory over Cavan in Augher, Co. Tyrone. That was followed by the Donegal U14 Girls winning their Ulster Football Final thanks to a 3-11 to 2-9 victory over Tyrone in Omagh.

In American Football there was a third win in a row for the Donegal-Derry Vipers who moved top of the Irish American Football League 1 table after doing a demolition 27-0 job on the NI Razorbacks.

On the May Bank Holiday weekend City of Derry Spartans athlete Conor Bradley won the 22nd North West 10k in a time of 32.21, which was 18 seconds ahead of Letterkenny AC member Eoghan McGinley. Finn Valley AC’s Teresa Doherty was first across the line in the women’s section in a time of 36.16.

Locally Ramelton man Marty Lynch won the WAAR 2018 in time of 2.22.20 while Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney did a double at the Donegal Track & Field Championship at the Finn Valley Centre winning the 800m and 3000m finals. Danny McDaid’s legendary athletic achievements was honoured when the Glenswilly man was bestowed with the Freedom of Donegal at the County House in Lifford.

In snooker father and son Aidan and Sean Devenney suffered defeat at the National Snooker Finals at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow. Sean lost out 4-2 to Aaron Hill of Cork in the U18 Final while dad Aidan was defeated 4-1 by fellow North West Snooker Club member Johnny Connors in the last 16 of the Senior Championship.

In May three Donegal cyclists Ronan McLaughlin, Mitchell McLaughlin and Aaron McBride completed the grueling Ras Tailteann around Ireland

On the first Sunday of the month Rory Kavanagh’s Donegal U16s won the Buncrana Cup Final for the first time in five years with a narrow 1-13 to 1-12 win over Tyrone at the Scarvey Grounds in Buncrana.

On the May Bank Holiday Monday, Naomh Conaill took the Donegal Senior Gaeltacht title in Downings with a 1-13 to 3-6 win over Naomh Columba while Fanad Gaels proved to strong for hosts Na Dunaibh (0-13 to 0-6). On the Saturday, Glenfin defeated Termon in the Senior Ladies decider.

The Donegal Masters advanced in the championship thanks to a 1-12 to 1-8 victory over Monaghan in Clones and then overcame Cavan 2-21 to 0-10 at Coaliste Ailigh in Letterkenny.

In the middle of the month there was a disappointing exit for the Donegal Minors who lost 1-12 to 1-10 to Monaghan in an Ulster Football Championship Round 2 Qualifier. On the same day Donegal advanced to the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final after a very comfortable 2-20 to 1-15 win over Cavan at McCumhaill Park. And then on the last Sunday of May, Declan Bonner’s men booked their place in the provincial semi-final of after a 2-16 to 0-16 win over Derry at Celtic Park. On the same day the Donegal U20s impressed in a 2-11 to 0-10 victory over Cavan at Celtic Park with Niall O’Donnell scoring 1-12.

Three former Raphoe Royal & Prior students Luke Witherow, Alexander Tinney and Ben Wallace were named on the Irish U21 Hockey squad for a Four- Nation tournament in New York against Argentina, Brazil and the United States. Witherow and Wallace were named in the traveling party while Tinney was included as non-travelling reserve.

On the horseracing circuit Letterkenny teenager Dylan Browne-McMonagle got off to a blistering start in the local season with five wins at the first meeting in Porthall.

At the end of May Declan Boyle in a Fiesta WRC finished second and 34.6 seconds behind winner Josh Moffett in the Cavan Rally which was round three of the National Championships.

On the Rugby front Larissa Muldoon from the Twin Towns, a member of the Railway Union Club, won the Ladies Player of the Year at the Ulster Rugby Awards. And on the same night Letterkenny’s Conor McMenamin was named Youth Player of the Year.

For Finn Harps there was a good start to the May Bank Holiday weekend with victories on the Friday and Monday. Ollie Horgan’s men came from behind to defeat Drogheda Utd 2-1 on the Friday night thanks to goals from Keith Cowan and Ciaran O’Connor. Then on the Bank Holiday Monday a wonder late strike from Jesse Deevers saw Ollie Horgan’s men bag a big three points against Galway Utd. Harps followed that up by managing a decent 0-0 draw against Shelbourne at Tolka Park. However, after a five-game unbeaten run Horgan’s outfit slumped to a poor 1-0 defeat against Cobh Ramblers in Ballybofey. Then on the last Friday of the month a late equalizer denied Harps a win against Wexford Youths at Ferrycarraig Park after Paddy McCourt had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.

At the start of the month Fanad Youths completed a double by defeating Letterkenny Rovers 1-0 thanks a very late extra-time winner from Keelan McGroddy at the Moss in Drumoghill to retain the Colin Breslin Memorial Cup title. A late Luke McCarry goal gave Dunfanaghy Youths an historic first Donegal title at this age-group as Danny Ferry’s boys defeated Swilly Rovers 1-0 in the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Memorial Cup Final at the Dry Arch.

Kildrum Tigers were crowned Donegal Junior League Premier Division champions for the first time in 17 years after a 1-1 draw against title Castlefin Celtic in St. Johnston. A fortnight later the St. Johnston outfit completed the double after overcoming Kilmacrennan Celtic in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Brian McCormick Cup Final at the Dry Arch. Kilmac had taken an early 2-0 lead but the Premier Division champions came back to force extra-time before taking the title.

In the middle of May Letterkenny Rovers retained the Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup title with a 2-1 win over Cockhill Celtic coming from behind with goals from Declan Sharkey and Ryan Lonergan. On the same day Glengad Utd clinched their fourth Inishowen Premier Division title in a row after a 1-0 away win over Aileach FC. However, there was revenge and some consolation for Aileach on the last Sunday of May when they won the Buncrana Credit Union Cup Final after 1-0 victory over Glengad thanks to a first half Darren McMonagle goal.

In May there was disappointment for Leitirmacaward’s Carl McHugh who was captain of the Motherwell side were beaten 2-0 by Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final.
Donegal Sports Star Awards April Review
Success in soccer, swimming, athletics and motorsport headline the Donegal Sports Star Awards April review.

It was especially a good month for women and will surely live long in the memory of Milford’s Amber Barrett who scored that dramatic late goal to help the Republic of Ireland Senior Women’s side to a 2-1 win over Slovakia in the first of a double header of World Cup qualifiers at the Tallaght Stadium. However, there was disappointment for Barrett four nights later as Colin Bell’s team lost 2-0 to the European Champions the Netherlands at the same venue in front of a record attendance of 4,047. Barrett was then shortlisted for the first Women’s National League Player of the Month award of 2018. The 22-year-old had also enjoyed a great start to the season with Peamount United where she had been in superb scoring. The NUI Maynooth student scored seven times in four games including a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Kilkenny.

Another young woman who enjoyed big success in April was Marlins Ballyshanon Swimming Club member Mona McSharry who won three gold and a bronze medal at the Irish Championships in Dublin. McSharry’s golds came in the 50m Freestyle where she set a new Irish record along with 50m and 100m breastroke while bronze came in the 200m breastroke.

In athletics a very strong Letterkenny AC Male Masters M35-49 team, comprising Raymond Birch, Karol Duggan and Ciaran Doherty, returned from the National Road Relays in Raheny, Dublin with silver medals. They were deprived of gold by only a fraction of a second. At the same championships the Finn Valley AC Masters Ladies team including Teresa Doherty, Marie Harvey and Catriona Devine won the Over-35 race. And the FV team of Kay Byrne, Noreen Martin and Mary Hippsley took silver in the O50 category.

The all conquering women of Letterkenny Athletic Club enjoyed a hugely successful day in Omagh. They achieved outstanding individual and team results in the Omagh Half Marathon. Annmarie McGlynn was an impressive winner of the women’s race in 1.14.28. In the process, she eclipsed the course record, which had stood for 18 years. Nakita Burke had an excellent half marathon debut by claiming second place in 1.21.17. A fine run of 1.37.28 by Shauna McGeehan ensured first prize in the team event. The three LAC ladies garnered 33 points, leaving them a comfortable 27 points clear of the second team, Armagh AC.

Letterkenny 24/7 Triathlon Club member Karen Crawford won gold in the 800m event and silver in the 400 metres at the Irish Masters Long Course Swim Championships in Limerick.

Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky finished 10th in the final of the High Jump at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The 17-year-old Castlederg girl jumped 1.80m in front of 40,000 spectators at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. Lecky’s jump was just short of the 1.83 which won her gold in last year’s Commonwealth Youth Games. Her club mate Dempsey McGuigan finished 5th in the hammer last weekend.

Also at the Commonwealth Games, Raphoe’s Rachael Darragh won her Round of 64 match in the Women’s Singles at the Carrara Sports Arena by 2 sets to nil win against Cameroon’s Stella Ngadjui (21-6, 21-3). However Darragh was subsequently beaten by Malaysian Soniia Cheah in the next round on the Gold Coast. Darragh and Sinead Chambers also lost to Cheah and Jemie Shevon Lai in the women’s doubles last 16 (21-19 21-7).

There was also disappointment for Letterkenny’s Stephen McMonagle at the Commonwealth Games. missing out on a bronze medal after losing to New Zealander Patrick Mailata.

In early April Donagh Kelly in a Ford Focus WRC won the Circuit of Kerry. It was round two of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and the Frosses man finished 16.4 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of another Donegal man, Declan Boyle from Leitirmacaward. Muff driver Joseph McGonigle finished fourth position. Then at the end of the month Kelly and Conor Foley won the Monaghan Stages Rally in their Ford Focus with just 1.8 seconds to spare over Sam Moffett and Karl Atkinson in a Ford Fiesta R5.

Dunfanaghy Boxing Club’s Bernie McDonagh won the second Irish boxing title of his career at the National Stadium in Dublin. Bernie overcame Che Devine from Oliver Plunkett Club in Belfast in the semi final and Donnacha Sayers from Cashel Vale Munster in the decider in the Boy 3 44kgs category. There was also a national title for Shane McConigley from the Letterkenny Boxing Club who defeated Rathkeale’s Mark Moore-Long at the National Stadium in Dublin in the Boy 1 52kgs section.

The Donegal Town U16 Girls Basketball team won the Division 2 national title after three victories at the All-Ireland Club Championships weekend.

In the middle of the month Ramelton’s Marty Lynch created history by becoming the first man to win ‘The Race’ in two successive years and in a record time. He is also the only person to have won 255km endurance event twice. Lynch’s time was 13 hours, 32 minutes and 26 seconds.

The boys from PCC Falcarragh produced a remarkable fightback to win the FAI Schools Minor B Boys National Cup Final at IT Sligo. PCC were 2-0 down against Coola Post Primary School when their captain Blake McGarvey showed the ultimate leadership by scoring twice to draw PCC level with their opponents. And then to round of a really memorable day for the Falcarragh school Paul Johnston got the winner just past the hour mark to secure the national title. There was also success for Carndonagh Community School who won the Dr. Tony O’Neill Senior Boys Cup Final.

Over 650 completed a very successful Run Donegal Women’s 5k which took place in the Twin Towns. It was the 12th staging of the charity event based at the Finn Valley Centre and was held in memory of Lisa McGranaghan a married mother of two who died from cancer two years ago. Catriona Devine was the winner in a time of 19 minutes and four seconds. Young Ramelton athlete Shane Irwin ran a fantastic 200 metres tin France. The LYIT student set a new Personal Best of 22.1 having run 22.9 last year.
Shane dropped down to the 200m event to improve his speed for his more regular 400m distance later in the season.

In snooker Ronan Whyte defeated his North West Snooker Club colleague Sean Devenney 3-0 in the first ever all Donegal RIBSA U-18 qualification ranking final which took place in the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow.
Meanwhile Devenney secured his place in the U18 National Snooker Final after defeating his North West Club colleague Whyte 3-2 also at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.

On the GAA front here was to be no National League semi-final spot for the Donegal Ladies despite their big 4-11 to 2-3 win over Cork in Ballybofey. That’s because other results on that weekend didn’t go in their favour. In the middle of April the Donegal U17s suffered a disappointing 2-21 to 1-12 defeat at the hands of Monaghan in the Jim McGuigan Cup Final at Drumragh. The Minors also suffered a heavy 5-12 to 1-10 defeat by Tyrone in the first round of the Ulster Championship at McCumhaill Park.

Kilcar’s Paddy McBrearty was named on the first ever GAA Club Players’ football team of the championship. The Donegal U16s booked their place in the Buncrana Cup Final with a big 4-10 to 0-8 win over Monaghan at the O’Donnell Park. St. Eunan’s College won the Ulster Schools Treanor Cup title (U15 and a half) after defeating St. Louis Grammar, Ballymena in Colraine by 0-7 to 1-2.

In Martial Arts there was medal success for the North West Shotokan Karate Club at the 19th Annual Rising Sun Karate Championships in Cork. There was gold for Lucas McColgan, Elaine Dullaghan and Ciara Dullaghan. Elaine also took two silvers. Lucas won a silver also. Rebecca picked up a bronze. The three girls also won silver I the mixed Senior Team Kate.

On the first days of April Kilmacrennan brothers Rhys and Caolan Irwin were both in motorbike action at Donington Park. Rhys underwent a testing first weekend in the all new British Talent Cup as the championship joined the British Superbike Championship for its 2018 season opener. Despite a tough weekend the 15-year-old left the Derbyshire venue feeling confident having been third quickest in free practice before mechanical issues upset his championship debut.

Meanwhile, beginning his first full season in the highly competitive category for standard 600cc machines, Rhys’s brother Caolán Irwin put in a brilliant performance in the race to climb from 19th on the starting grid to take tenth place at the flag and outstrip the teams expectations for their maiden weekend at the highest level of British Motorcycle Racing. The Irwins brothers followed that up as both finished eighth in their respective categories after competing at the British Superbike Championships at Brands Hatch. Caolán then had a hat-trick of runner up places at Mondello Park in the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship riding in the Supersport Pro class.

Motiv 8 Powerlifting Gym member John McHugh won the Best Lifter of the Day at the Irish Drug Free Powerlifting National Championships in Dublin.

Finn Harps made their exit from EA Sports Cup on Bank Holiday Monday evening in Ballybofey after local rivals Derry City came back from a goal down to secure their spot in the third round draw with a 2-1 win. Skipper Ciaran Coll had put Harps in front on 11 minutes. In the league and despite performing well Harps lost 3-2 to UCD at Belfield in the League of Ireland First Division. Burnfoot man Georgie Kelly grabbed a super hat-trick for the Students. A week later there was a much better result as for the second successive game Sam Todd scored for Ollie Horgan’s side to grind out a 1-0 victory over Cabinteely in Ballybofey. On the last Friday in April Todd’s rich scoring streak contnued, this time against Longford Town as the Carndonagh man’s 91st minute gave Finn Harps a crucial three points in the Midlands in what was a very fortunate 2-1 victory.

Meanwhile Harps underage players Patrick McGarvey and Fionnan Coyle both featured for the Republic of Ireland U15s against the Czech Republic.

For the second year in a row Fanad United Youths were crowened Dick Duffy Memorial league champions after Niall Doherty’s side secured the title when they defeated Kilmacrennan Celtic in a hugely entertaining game in Traighalough. Milford lad Conor McHugh proved to be the match winner as the midfielder scored twice which included the goal that clinched the title just past the midway point of the second half.

Hopes of reaching the FAI Intermediate Cup Final for the second time in three years came to a very disappointing end for Letterkenny Rovers as Eamonn McConigley’s outfit lost 2-0 to Firhouse Clover in Dublin. It was a semi-final replay after Rovers had failed to take advantage of Leckview Park a fortnight to book their place in the decider. Rovers also made a disappointing exit from the FAI Senior Cup losing 1-0 to CIE Ranch in Dublin.

The Inishowen League’s run in the Oscar Traynor Cup competition ended at the Kells Road Astro pitch in Kilkenny. Early goals in both halves by winger Emmet Nugent sent the Kilkenny League through to the last four and ended Inishowen’s hopes of another Oscar Traynor victory.

There was huge disappointment also for the Letterkenny Rovers U15 who went down 3-1 to favourites St. Kevin’s Boys in a SFAI National Cup semi-final. A controversial late penalty put St. Kevin’s 2-1 in front and on their way to the final. Rathmullan’s Adrian Delap got another significant career boost when he made his debut for the Ireland Colleges and Universities side coming on for the second half in the 1-0 friendly win over Scotland at Oriel Park.

Although missing through suspension himself Carl McHugh’s Motherwell still secured their place in the Scottish Cup Final thanks to a 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Hampden Park. In the middle of April there was penalty heartache for the Donegal Women’s League U18 side who lost 6-5 on penalties to the Metropolitan League from Dublin in the Inter-league Cup Final which had 1-1 after extra-time.

There was a very special night for Lifford native Shay Given who received the ‘Donegal Person of the Year’ award at a gala dinner in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.

Inishowen man Stephen McLaughlin was one of the scorers for Southend Utd who had a 4-0 victory over MK Dons in an English League One game. And on the last Monday of the month Donegal Town’s Jack Keaney scored his first senior League of Ireland goal as Sligo Rovers recorded a 2-1 Premier Division win over Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.

There was huge disappointment for PCC Falcarragh who missed out on a place in the FAI Schools Senior ‘B’ Boys National Final. After the semi-final had been scoreless at half-time against Greenan College, Thomastown in Gortakeegan, PCC took a 2-0 lead through Carlos O’Reilly and Ultan Boyle. However, Greenan came back to draw level and then got a 90th minute winner. There was heartache also for Scoil Mhuire U15s who suffered a 3-0 defeat against Claregalway College in the FAI Schools Minor National Final at McSharry Park in Sligo.

Carndonagh Community School’s Kieran Farren and Daniel Houghton started for the Republic of Ireland Schools team that won the International Centenary Shield after overcoming Scotland 3-1 at Home Farm FC in Dublin. Houghton saved a penalty in the second half. St. Eunan’s College pupil James Carolan was also a squad member which was managed by Cockhill Celtic player and Finn Harps coach William O’Connor. Milford’s Mickey McGlynn was the Irish physio while Harps manager Ollie Horgan is on the coaching staff.

Donegal Sports Star Awards March Review
Memorable March for Donegal Sport

The Donegal Sports Star Awards March review reveals an impressive array of successes for the county at home and abroad. Once again Ballyshannon Marlins Swimming Club member Mona McSharry hit the headlines after setting another Irish record in the 50m breastroke at the Edinburgh International Meeting in a time of 30.87 seconds.

Also abroad on the last day of March Jason Quigley made a winning return to the ring in Boston by stopping Daniel Rosario in the sixth round. Also in the ring at national level Letterkenny IT student Matthew McCole took gold in the Elite 64kg category on a unanimous decision at the Irish Third Level Boxing Championships Finals defeating Sean Gallagher from Trinity College Dublin. Another LYIT student Danny Boyle took the Senior Novice 75kg title by overcoming Waterford IT’s Paul Fitzgibbon inside the distance. Dylan Browne-McMonagle and Paddy McShane members of Letterkenny ABC took Irish juvenile boxing titles at the National Stadium in Dublin. McShane was successful in the Boy 4 category. Browne-McMonagle who was also a winner in Boy 4 is a talented sports boy having also excelled as a jockey over the past couple of years.

It was a good month for two Donegal rally crews. First Declan Boyle and co-driver James O’Reilly made the perfect start to the season by winning the opening round of the National Rally Championship in Mayo. Boyle and O’Reilly led the nine stage Mayo Rally from start to finish. Just a week later Donagh Kelly won the West Cork Rally for a fifth successive year. Kelly and his co-driver Conor Foley also led from start to finish.

There was a big boost men’s rugby in Donegal as Letterkenny lad Joe Dunleavy turned in an impressive performance on his Irish U20 debut in a super Six Nations Championship 30-25 win over Scotland at Donnybrook. A week later Dunleavy made his second international appearance but it ended in defeat at the Irish U20s lost to England at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
March was also good for the LYIT as their ladies basketball team won the Division 2 national final thanks to a narrow 94-92 win over Griffith College at Inchicore in Dublin. And the LYIT Ladies soccer side won the national O’Regan Intervarsities Shield title after a 2-0 win over the Garda College in Limerick. Player of the Match Zoe Green and Zoe McGlynn were the goalscorers.

Carndonagh C.S. pupil Erin Fildara and Kerry Brown from Moville C.S. both came on as second half subs for the Republic of Ireland U15 Schools side that the retained the international John Read Trophy thanks to a 3-0 win over England. Fildara got the third goal to make sure of the title. In the middle of the month Moville Community School won the FAI Junior Girls National Cup Final by overcoming Galway’s Coaliste Bhaile Chlair (Claregalway) 2-1 in the decider.

In athletics Letterkenny AC’s Nakita Burke’s phenomenal improvement continued in Belfast in the Deep River Rock Queen’s 5k. Nakita earned a new PB of almost 20 seconds and her first sub 17 minute 5k in an excellent time of 16.45. She was the second woman with only Newcastle and District AC’s Kerry O’Flaherty ahead of her. There was disappointment for Glenfin lad Odhran McGlynn who suffered defeat in the U17 All-Ireland Final.

Four Inishowen men were medal winners at the World Tug of War Championships in China. Carn’s Gerard Porter won double gold in the 560kgs category for his club St. Pat’s Louth and Ireland. Another St. Pat’s member Shaun Doherty from Clonmany also won gold in the 680kg category. There was bronze for Doherty and two other Clonmany men Dan Harkin and Andrew McGonigle in the 680kg category.

On the last Sunday in March the Donegal/Derry Vipers got their American Football season off to a winning start away to Westmeath Minotaurs on a final score of 22-7.

The Mulroy Hoops U14 Boys Basketball team won the NWB U14 League Play-off title defeating Belfast Star in Ray. It was a good month for the Mulroy Hoops Club as their U14 Girls side reached the NWB League Final for the first time ever.

In Cue Sports, Northwest Snooker Club Letterkenny members Sean Devenney and Johnny Connors won the NSASA Eamonn Casson Memorial Cup at the AOH Club in Derry by overcoming the CYMS pair of Phelim McClafferty and Gareth Kirwin. Four Donegal players the Hegarty sisters Ciara and Niamh along with Yvonne Bonner and Karen Guthrie were members of the 2016 and 2017 TG4 Ladies Football All-Stars who played in Bangkok over the St. Patrick’s weekend.

On the last day of March and despite defeat in a high scoring clash with Mayo in Swinford (5-14 to 4-12) the Donegal senior ladies side were still in with a chance of making the semi-final stages of the National Football League Division. A week earlier the side managed by Maxi Curran Damian Devaney kept themsleves in the frame for the knockout stages after a massive 20-point win over a very disappointing Kerry side in Ballybofey (6-11 to 0-9). There were two goals each for Yvonne Bonner and Ciara Grant while Karen Guthrie and Sarah Jane McDonald also found the back of the net.

There was bitter disappointment for St. Eunan’s College who lost out by a single point to Holy Trinity, Cookstown in the McLarnon Cup replay at Celtic Park in Derry after extra-time (2-8 to 0-13). And it was a similar story for Coaliste Ailigh, Letterkenny who lost 2-14 to 4-9 to St. Cuan’s Castleblaney Coolooney, Sligo in their first ever All-Ireland Final appearance.

The Donegal U17s had an easy 2-17 to 1-9 victory over Fermanagh in the Ulster League at McCumhaill Park. And the Donegal U16s were comfortable winners over Down in Saval in their opening Buncrana Cup game (0-22 to 2-3).

The reality of Division 2 football won’t really hit home till early next year but that’s where Donegal will be after being relegated at McCumhaill Park when Mayo came from three points down to secure their place in the top flight for the 21st successive year (0-13 each). Saturday 10th March. Earlier in the month Declan Bonner’s men suffered defeats against Tyrone 2-13 to 1-10 at Healy Park in Omagh and went down by six points against Monaghan in Clones (1-16 to 1-10).

In hurling two Declan Coulter goals helped gave the Donegal senior hurlers a 2-17 to 1-17 win over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds to secure Mickey McCann’s side a place in Division 2B for a second successive year. It was the first time that Donegal has managed to achieve that objective.

On the first Saturday in March, Seamus Coleman made his 250th club appearance for Everton but it ended in a 2-1 defeat to Burnley.

A spectacular late Carl McHugh strike helped his side Motherwell to secure a 2-1 win over Hearts in a Scottish FA Cup quarter-final tie.

March was good for Donegal lads Conor Blaney, Timmy Govorov and Jason Quinn who were members of the IT Sligo squad that won the CFAI Plate Final by overcoming GMIT Galway 3-1. And the same trio were members of the IT Sligo squad that defeated Limerick IT 2-1 in the Intervarsities Division 1 Final in Limerick.

Finn Harps finally kicked off their new League of Ireland First Division season with a 1-1 draw against Shelbourne in Ballybofey. Harps followed that up on the Monday night with a narrow 4-3 win in the end against the Mayo League in the EA Sports Cup. Ollie Horgan’s men had led 4-0 until the hour mark. On St. Patrick’s evening late goals from John O’Flynn and Ciaran O’Connor gave Harps an excellent 2-0 win over Cobh Ramblers at St. Patrick’s Park.

Two controversial calls by referee Robert Harvey were the defining moments as Ollie Horgan’s side lost for the first time this season away to Drogheda Utd. The two decisions came in the opening half-hour of the rescheduled First Division fixture that ended 2-0 in favour of the hosts. Despite having long spells of domination Harps had to settle for a share of the spoils away to Athlone Town (1-1) who managed their first point of the SSE Airtricity League Division One campaign after losing their opening four games of the campaign.

The Letterkenny Rovers U15s booked their place in the semi-finals of the SFAI National Cup after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory over Crumlin Utd at Leckview Park. The chances of Letterkenny Rovers making the FAI Intermediate Cup Final for the second time in three years were dealt a big blow at Leckview Park as Eamonn McConigley’s side were held to a draw by Dublin outfit Firhouse Clover.

Letterkenny 24/7s John Conaghan was first in the M55-59 category in the Tri122 Lanzarote International.

In Secondary Schools sport Carndonagh Community School won their first ever Ulster Markey Cup title getting the better of St. Columba’s College Stranorlar in an all Donegal final at the O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny (3-8 to 1-10).

Donegal Sports Star Awards February 2018 review
There was no shortage of sporting success for Donegal in February with big achievements in GAA, swimming, triathlon, soccer, darts, horseracing, endurance cycling, athletics and snooker. On the last weekend of the month Ramelton man Paddy Bond took a gold and silver at the International Ice Swimming Association GB Championships in Leeds. Paddy was first in the M35-39 1k swim category and second overall in the 50 Fly.

On the first day of February, Laura Dugera scored twice as Mulroy College Milford retained their FAIS Senior ‘B’ National Girls title after a 2-0 win over Midleton College from Cork. One of their students who had to miss out on that success was Swilly Rovers player Catherine Grier who scored for English club Doncaster in the semi finals of the Champions League Deaf Futsal. However, it was to end in disappointment for the Ramelton girls as they lost out to 7-5 to Polish outfit Warsaw in a remarkable game.

In darts Donegal did the treble at the West Coast Challenge in Castlebar with their senior men and women taking titles along with the youth team. It was a fabulous February for Trentagh native Martin Harley who first rode Thaqaffa to victory for the third time in 2018 as he steered the Amy Murphy-trained five-year-old to a win at Kempton Park in the Matchbook Casino Handicap. A couple of days later he followed that up by steering Author’s Dream to victory in the Betway Casino Handicap at Lingfield Park. Next up Harley rode Inn The Bull to victory at Wolverhampton. Harley took the win on the 3/1 shot, trained by Alan King, in the Betway Casino Handicap.

On the last Monday of the month Harley super start in the saddle continued at Wolverhampton on as the Trentagh man completed a spectacular treble to bring him past the 20- winner mark for the season. His first win was on the 11/10 favourite Ty Rock Brandy for trainer Lee Smyth. Harley’s second win was on another favourite Inn The Bull at 6/4 for trainer Alan King. Rae Guest’s Midnightly completed the treble which came home at 12/1.

Letterkenny man Jason Black completed the mammoth 1,000km cycle race in the Middle East. The incredibly challenging event took place in Oman and was Black’s first attempt at a solo unsupported race.

At the beginning of February in athletics Finn Valley AC’s Dempsey McGuigan set a new Donegal record in the hammer throw, as well as a new PB and University Best in Illionois, USA. McGuigan threw the 35lb weight a distance of 21.22m. Nationally Karl Griffin returned from injury to win the 800m at the Athletics Ireland Indoor Championships in Abbottstown in a time of 1.50.31. A couple of weeks later Griffin was back on the podium as runner-up to fellow Donegal man Mark English in the 800m Final at the National Indoors in Abbottstown. Finn Valley’s John Kelly took silver in the Shot Putt while club colleague Sommer Lecky won the High Jump title. Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney won the 1,500m event at the Athletics Ireland Indoor Championships in Abbottstown in a time of 3.51.71.

On the first Saturday in February another Letterkenny AC member Nakita Burke continued her fine winter form finishing second overall in the Omagh 5k and first woman home in a time of 17.36.
Burke’s success continued six days later as she finished second at the National Intermediate Championships in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway. The Donegal Ladies took bronze in the Inter-County race while Letterkenny AC were runners-up in the O35 team event.

Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky won the High Jump at the IFAM International event in Belgium, clearing 1.86m in her first attempt to take the title. Letterkenny AC’s Catriona Jennings broke her own Irish record as she won the National 50k Championship title in Kildare. Amy Greene of Rosses AC won the Girls U15 event at the Irish Intermediate, Masters and Juvenile Cross-Country Championships in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway.

Meanwhile, Mark English had to settle for second place in an 800m race during the AIT Grand Prix in Athlone. The Letterkenny man’s time was 1.47.48 just behind Spaniard Kevin Lopez (1.47.43).

On the last weekend of the month Letterkenny 24/7 member Christine Russell was third female home overall at the Naas Duathlon in a time of 1.03.23. It also gave her second place in the Intervarsity Championship representing NUI Galway. Fellow Letterkenny 24/7 member Orlaith Fogarty was first in the 20-24 age category and 19th overall female in Naas.

In rugby Ballybofey’s Laura Feely made her competitive Ireland debut as last sub but it ended in defeat 24-0 to France at the Stade Ernest Wallon. Feely also made a couple of more appearances from the bench.

Ardara’s Ronan Whyte fine run in the European Individual U18 Championships in Bulgaria came to an end at the last 16 stage of the competition when he lost 3-0 to England’s Sean McAllister. Then in Carlow, Ronan lost 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the qualifiers for the World U18 Championships. His North West Snooker Club colleague Sean Devenney lost out in the final 3-1.

In the middle of February Donegal were crowned McKenna Cup champions after a well deserved 1-16 to 1-12 win over Tyrone at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh with the help of a first half Martin McElhinney goal. Three Cian Mulligan goals helped Gweedore to take the Ulster U21 Club Championship title after a big win over Lavey on a score of 4-7 to 0-6. It was the first time for a Donegal club to win the title.

History was made at the Garvaghy Centre of Excellence when Coaliste Ailigh Letterkenny won a senior schools GAA title for the first time ever after defeating Ballybay Community School from Monaghan by 3-12 to 2-10 in the final.

There was success for the Glenfin Club at the Ulster Juvenile Championships held in Saval, Co. Down. In the Girls U13 Doubles there was victory for Aibhe McMenamin and Katelyn Houston while Caoimhe McGlynn was runner up in the U15 Singles Final. In the U17 Boys Singles Odhran McGlynn was crowned Ulster champion.

On the last Saturday in February LYIT Donegal basketball men’s team put themselves in the frame for a league play-off place after a 108-81 win over the Galway Titans

In boxing there was a quarter-final defeat for Dungloe B.C.’s Matthew McCole at the Irish Elite Championship Finals at the National Stadium going down 5-0 to Wayne Kelly of Portlaoise in the 64kgs category.

Donegal’s poor start to the Division 1 league campaign continued as Declan Bonner’s men went down by a point in Division this time to Galway at the O’Donnell Park (1-12 to 0-14). Six days later and despite a gallant performance Donegal suffered their third successive loss in the league this time to Dublin Croke Park (0-20 to 0-15). However on the last Sunday in February the first league points were finally secured but it was a struggle against a Kildare side that played with 14 men from the 15th minute at Fr. Tierney Park in Ballyshannon (1-15 to 3-7).

After the opening round defeat to Dublin it was a late Yvonne Bonner free that got the Donegal ladies 1-13 Galway 0-16 draw against Galway in a Division 1 game in Glenfin. The side managed by Maxi Curran and Damian Devaney did a demolition job on Westmeath in a rearranged Division 1 league fixture played in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. Donegal won by 9-17 to 1-5 with Yvonne Bonner scoring 3-6. The Ladies virtually made sure of their Division 1 status for next season after a 1-7 to 1-4 win over Monaghan in Clones.

Mya Alcorn (Loreto Convent Letterkenny), Shannon McLaughlin (Coaliste Ailigh Letterkenny) and Sarah Harkin (St. Columba’s Comprehensive, Glenties) were presented with Ulster Colleges All-Star Awards in Kellys Inn, Garvaghey.

The Donegal senior hurlers made history at the O’Donnell Park by defeating Down for first time ever by 0-17 to 0-14 in Division 2B.

At the start of the month there was huge morale boosting 14-point win for Donegal in Division 2B of the National Hurling League. Mickey McCann’s men defeated Derry by 4-17 to 2-09 at the O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny. Donegal came back all guns blazing after losing to Mayo in the league opener the previous week with the goals coming from David Coulter with two, Bernard Lafferty and Ronan McDermott while Lee Henderson scored six points. But that was followed by a 2-21 to 0-21 loss to Wicklow in Aughrim.

There was a good weekend for Donegal motorsport at the Birr Stages Rally where Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley were second in their Ford Fiesta WRC with Declan Boyle and Conor O’Reilly third also in a Ford Fiesta WRC while Joseph McGonagle and Ciaran Geaney finished fourth in their BMW Mini WRC.

Former Letterkenny underage rugby player Justin Allen is really looking forward to huge career move in the USA. The 22-year-old signed a two-year professional contract with the Houston SaberCats Club in the USA at Christmas time. The 6’11’, 250-pound lock is in training now for the inaugural 2018 Major League Rugby season.

Inishowen man Georgie Kelly helped UCD to win the Collingwood Cup final. Kelly had scored in the 2-0 semi-final win over DCU having netted twice in the 3-0 victory over Maynooth.

In the middle of the month Gweedore’s Marc Walsh started for the Republic of Ireland U17s in a 1-1 friendly draw against Turkey at Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway. Walsh is on the books of English Premiership side Swansea City.

Barry McNamee scored the very first goal of the new League of Ireland Premier Division season when he put Cork City ahead in the third minute against St Patrick’s Athletic at Inchicore on Friday night. The Ramelton man had also scored in the President’s Cup Final the previous weekend. Cork won Friday night’s game 3-2.

Letterkenny Rovers U15s secured their place in the SFAI National Cup quarter finals after a well deserved 1-0 win over Mervue Utd in a scrappy encounter at the Aura Centre with Sean McVeigh getting the goal just before the interval.

Despite losing 2-0 to group toppers Mayo the Donegal Youth League qualified as runners-up for the knockout stages of the FAI Inter-League competition. On the last Sunday in February and for the second time in three years Letterkenny booked their place in the semi-finals of the FAI Intermediate Cup after Darren McElwaine’s brace gave Eamonn McConigley’s side a 2-0 win over Dublin outfit Home Farm at Leckview Park.

The Carndonagh team took silver at the British and Irish Tug-o-war Championships in Enniskillen in the 620kg category.

At the start of February, Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny had a 5-2 win over Crana College, Buncrana at Whitestrand to win the Ulster Junior B Girls Final. It was a fine performance from Keith Cowan’s side. There was an Ulster double for Moville Community School who won both the Senior and U17 FAI Schools provincial soccer titles.
Donegal Sports Star Awards January 2018 review
Magical month for martial arts
The Donegal Sports Star Awards January review reveals super start to the new year for the county at national and international level. It was an especially good month for martial arts where the three men won gold medals at the European Jiu Jitsu Games in Lisbon. Two Carrigart men got on to the podium with Paul McHugh and Liam McBride winning gold medals in the novice section. Convoy’s TJ McMenamin claimed a gold in the Blue Belt Masters Division in Portugal while Emma Dolan from the Three Rivers Shotokan Club was a brilliant second at the Ishoj Karate Cup in Copenhagen.

Danny Ryan continued where he left off last year winning two gold medals at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships at the UL Sports Arena on the University of Limerick campus. The former Irish boxing champion was first in the 2 km 40-49 age-group and then won the 500m Open Men category. And Ryan also achieved a new Irish record in the 40-49 age category in the 500m event.

January was also good for darts with Buncrana man Sean Wilson winning the Irish National Organisation’s singles title. He defeated Michael Meeney of Kilkenny 3-2 in the final and Sean qualified to play in the British Darts Organisation tournament, the Winmau World Masters and also the Lakeside World Championship Qualifiers. There was also a big snooker success for the CYMS Letterkenny team who were crowned All-Ireland champions. The team included Gareth Kirwan, Phelim McClafferty, Adrian McFadden, Chris Dolan and Chris Gibbons.

Motorsport crew Manus Kelly and Donal Barrett will forever remember Friday the 26th of January when they were crowned Overall winners at the Donegal Sports Star Awards after their superb success in retaining the Donegal International Rally event last June. Kilmacrennan’s Richard Kerr won the ‘Young Rider of the Year’ at the Motorbike Awards in Bangor. The awards recognize the achievements of Ireland’s top riders at home and abroad. Kerr also confirmed that he will switch to the Dickies British Supersport class for the new motorcycling season and will ride on the Campbell Motor Sport Triumph Daytona 675R. The 17-year-old had been competing in the MotoStar British Championship Moto 3 class over the past three years.
For the second successive year Mulroy College Milford were crowned All-Ireland Senior ‘B’ Girls champions after a great 2-0 win against Cork side Midleton at the Home Farm grounds in Dublin. Laura Dugera was the star of the show as her two goals secured the title for Maria Ryan’s side. There was big news for young Letterkenny lad Shane Blaney who made the move from Finn Harps to Doncaster Rovers.

Staying with soccer St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland played the full game as the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team defeated Portugal 3-1 in an international friendly. Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin came on as a late sub while also in the Irish squad were Milford’s Amber Barrett and Amy Boyle-Carr from Glenties. Toland and Barrett had both played on the previous Thursday when the ROI women lost 1-0. Then after returning home from Portugal McLaughlin was named ‘Player of the Tournament’ as IT Carlow won their third successive CUFL Women’s Futsal Cup at the WIT Arena. McLaughlin fired home four goals in the three games on the way to Carlow lifting the national title.

January was good for Trentagh jockey Martin Harley who had winners on Author’s Dream at the Betway Stayers Handicap at Lingfield and then at Kempton Park on the 11/2 backed Thaqaffa in the 32Red Casino Handicap.

In athletics the good form of Letterkenny AC’s Karol Duggan continued as he finished 20th at the IAAF Antrim International Cross-Country Championships. Meanwhile, two other young LAC athletes Matthew Johnston and Donal Farren were members of the Ulster U20 team in Antrim while Glenswilly lad Sean McGinley, a member of the Derry Olympian Club was on the province’s U17 team. And Donegal representation was completed by Teresa McDaid of LAC who was manager of the Irish team while Finn Valley’s Neil Martin was in the charge of the U17s. Farren and McGinley were also selected to run for the Ulster and Northern Ireland team at the UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, which take place at Loughborough in March. Letterkenny AC’s Fionnuala Diver was second in the O35 category and the LAC men’s team took gold at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Cross-Country Championships in Belfast. Letterkenny AC’s Ann-Marie McGlynn won the five mile Raheny 5 in a time of 26.44.

At the start of January there was big news for Finn Valley AC athletes Sommer Lecky and Dempsey McGuigan who were both included in the Northern Ireland team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which takes place on the Gold Coast in Australia from April 4th to 15th. Dempsey and his brother Fellan were at different venues at Collegiate meetings in the USA during the month throwing the heavy hammer. Dempsey was in action with the 16lb ball and reached out to over 20m at Vanderbilt meet in Nashville and the throw was close to his PB and Donegal best. It also moved him to 17th in the collegiate rankings in the USA. Meanwhile, Fellas McGuigan was out over 15m with his throw.

Raphoe badminton player Rachael Darragh was also included in the Northern Ireland team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia while in basketball there was disappointment for St. Eunan’s College who suffered defeat 44-32 to Colaiste Chiarain from Kildare in the All-Ireland U16 Schools Basketball Final in Dublin.

Letterkenny boxer Stephen McMonagle was also included on the Northern Ireland boxing team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Super-Heavyweight division. Staying in the ring Dungloe’s Matthew McCole secured a place in the Light-Welterweight Final at the National U22 Championships in Dublin after defeating Aaron Daly from Castlebar on a split decision to move into the decider. Near the end of January Labhaoise Clarke just missed out on a 10th All-Ireland title after losing on a split decision to Shauna Blaney at Dublin’s National Stadium.

There was great news for two young St Johnston players Scott Macbeth and Harry Pearson who were included on an Ireland U13 squad for Cricket Ireland’s Cubs Winter Training Programme. At the start of the month Declan Bonner’s first competitive game of his second spell as Donegal senior football team manager got off to an easy start with a 2-15 to 0-6 win over Queen’s University Belfast in Ballybofey in the McKenna Cup opener. But, a week later ex-Donegal manager Rory Gallagher had satisfaction of putting one over on his former team in Ballybofey as his Fermanagh side defeated the hosts 1-13 to 1-10 in the second McKenna Cup group game. In the final group game the return of Kilcar men Ryan McHugh and Paddy McBrearty helped Donegal book a place in the McKenna Cup semi-finals thanks to a 10-point win over Monaghan in Clones (4-19 to 0-19).
Bonner’s men then had a comfortable seven-point win over Armagh in the Dr. McKenna Cup semi-final in Celtic Park, Derry thanks to a strong second half performance with Paddy McBrearty scoring eight-points (0-20 to 1-10). 14-men Donegal went down by just a single point to Kerry in an NFL Division 1 opener in Killarney (2-18 to 3-14). Bonner’s side who played from the 20th minute with 14 players following the straight red card received by Nathan Mullins led by a point in the dying minutes but the hosts came back to snatch victory.

Naomh Colmcille hopes of a big day out at Croke Park were dashed by Cork side Knocknagree who had a 2-9 to 0-7 win over the Newtowncunningham outfit in the All-Ireland Junior Football semi-final. On the last Sunday in January and despite a pretty encouraging performance the Donegal Ladies suffered a four-point (2-5 to 0-7) defeat to All-Ireland champions Dublin at the O’Donnell Park in their opening National Football League Division 1 game.

On the first day of January and for the second successive year Raphoe Hockey Club suffered defeat in the Linden Cup Final this time losing out 5-0 to Bangor in Belfast. Setanta’s brilliant run in the All-Ireland series came to an end when the Killygordon outfit lost 4-12 to 0-13 to Ardmore from Waterford in the semi-final in Navan. Letterkenny lad Joe Dunleavy was named for the first time in the Ireland U-20 squad for the international Six Nations Championship.

It was a memorable month for Ramelton’s Catherine Grier who played her part as the Irish Deaf Sports Futsal team secured qualification for the European Finals in Finland after a 6-2 win over Italy in the Netherlands.
Swilly Rovers midfielder Grier played a key role and scored in opening 3-3 draw with hosts Holland. The Mulroy College Milford student’s performance earned her the Player of the Match accolade award. However, Grier’s participation in the weekend qualifiers was then cut short after sustaining an ankle injury in the game against Germany on Saturday morning.

Seamus Coleman returned to competitive action with the Everton U23s, ten months after suffering a terrible double leg fracture. The Killybegs native played just short of an hour as the Toffees defeated Portsmouth in the Premier League Cup.
On the last Friday of January

Carndonagh CS won the Ulster Senior Schools title for the third-year in a row after defeating St. Columba’s College Stranorlar 1-0 in Traighalough thanks to a second half Corey McBride goal.
The Scoil Mhurie Buncrana U15 girls clinched the FAI Schools Minor Ulster Cup title after a 4-1 victory over Carndonagh C.S.
And Moville Community School secured their place in the All-Ireland Schools Senior Soccer Final after a 3-2 win over Enniscorthy’s Coalise Bride.

In secondary schools GAA, St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny reached the semi-finals of the Ulster McLarnon Cup after an easy 1-16 to 1-4 win over Loreto College, Colraine in Owenbeg.

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