Friday 28th of April is a date that Sam and Chloe Magee will always remember because it was the day the Raphoe siblings created history in Denmark becoming the first Irish players to win medals at a European Badminton Championships. After a decade that had more than its fair share of disappointments Chloe and Same took bronze medals after defeating a Polish pair 22-20, 17-21, 21-12 in the decider.
That success was certainly the high point of another successful month for Donegal sport. The Donegal Sports Star April review
Also records another international triumph for the Donegal Sportshall U15 Boys who won a UK Athletics title in Manchester for a second successive year. Another highlight was Jason Quigley taking his major title since turning professional by winning the North American Boxing Confederation title by defeating Glen Tapia in Fantasy Springs, Indio, California. In doing so the Twin Towns man extended his unbeaten pro record to 13 fights.
It was also a good month in martial arts with brother and sister Darragh Beibhinn McCole from Quigleys Point winning gold and silver medals respectively at the WUKF European Championships in Romania. The McColes are members of the Ulster Karate Federation and their club colleague Buncrana man Mike Donaghey landed bronze at the same championships. Darragh and Mick were also members of the cadet kumite team that won silver.
Also in April, Ciaran Crawford, a member of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club, won the Scottish Open Title and also took a silver in the Team Kumite event. There were also silver medals for fellow club members Jamie-Lee Simpson and Emma Dolan in the Team Kumite girls section.
The previous week the Three Rivers Shotokan Club also brought home medals from the JKS Ireland Open at the Dublin City University Sports Complex – Deborah Hannigan Gold (Kunite), Silver (Kata); Emma Dolan Gold (Kunite); Jamie-Lee Simpson Silver (Kunite); Ciaran Crawford Gold (Kunite); Mark Doherty Gold (Kunite); Brodie Hannigan Silver (Kunite) and Eoin Hannigan Gold (Kunite) and Silver (Kata).
12-year-old Tristan Logue from Burnfoot won a North American Grapping Association Judo title in England. He took the gold medal in the Expert Gi Division and also picked up a bronze in the Expert Nogi Division.
It was a great month for Letterkenny Athletic Club who did very well at the highly prestigious Irish Life Health National Road Relay Championships in Raheny, Dublin. The Masters’ women’s team, comprising three in-form runners Irene McFadden, Annmarie McGlynn and Monica McGranaghan picked up gold in their event. In the process, they broke the course record for Masters’ women. And the Letterkenny AC’s senior women’s team picked up silver medals. Annmarie McGlynn showed her amazing stamina after running the middle leg for the Masters’ team, she did likewise for the Senior team and did it in 10.29, 14 seconds faster than she had run earlier. The other team members were Nakita Burke and Noeleen Scanlan who ran the first and third legs respectively.
Letterkenny A.C. also had a good day at the Athletics Ireland National 10k Championships, which is subsumed within the Great Ireland run. The men’s team took bronze medals courtesy of Danny Mooney, Eoghan McGinley, Darren McBrearty and Ivan Toner. Fionnuala Diver continued her good form and her time of 38.26 also put her in the medals. She was third in the F35 category. Meanwhile there was silver for the Finn Valley Men at the National Road Relays in Raheny while the club’s women’s team took bronze.
On Monday 11th April, Declan Bonner’s Donegal U21s took the last ever Ulster U21 Football Championship title in very impressive fashion with a massive 13-point win over Derry in the final at the Athletic Grounds (3-17 to 0-13). However, just five days late the great journey came to an end at Breffni Park as Dublin booked their place in the All-Ireland Final with a comfortable 1-13 to 0-9 victory over Declan Bonner’s outfit.
Davin Flynn’s 2-8 helped the Donegal senior hurlers to capture the Division 3A League title in a 4-25 to 1-11 victory over Tyrone at Celtic Park.
On the second Sunday of the month Inishowen A.C’s Pauric McKinney retained his Over 50 title at the Athletics Ireland National 10K Championships in the Phoenix Park. Finn Valley A.C’s John Kelly, a student at the LYIT, won a gold shot putt medal at the Irish Intervarsities Athletics Championships in Cork.
Letterkenny woman Kirsty McElwaine was crowned 2017 Intervarsity Champion at the National Series Triathlon hosted by the Nenagh Club.
In the middle of April it was a dream debut for Kilmacrennan teen racer Caolán Irwin at the opening Irish Championship rounds of the season at Bishopscourt. The Supersport rookie dominated the ‘Cup’ class, taking two wins while running as high as fourth in the overall Irish Championship races.
At the 48th County Senior Athletic Championships Rosses A.Cs Aidan Gillespie equaled Hugo Duggan’s record of eight senior Donegal titles in the Long Jump.
The 21st North West 10k was won in a time of 32 minutes and 44.3 seconds by Kilmacrennan native Eoghan McGinley running in the colours of Letterkenny A.C. on the revised route due to the Kiltoy Roadworks. It was McGinley’s second time to take top place in the biggest charity road race in the county. Young Finn Valley A.C. athlete Mark McPaul was bidding to win the event for the first time but the Ramelton lad had to settle for the runners-up spot 31 seconds behind McGettigan. McPaul clocked 33.15 for the 10k.
In Basketball the Blaze U16s Girl finished third at the All-Ireland Club Championships. Dunfanaghy Boxing Club head coach Eddie Harkin had a weekend to remember as two of his grandsons Sean Kelly and Odhrán McGinley won National and Ulster titles respectively.
First Eddie was in the corner on at the National Stadium in Dublin as Sean Kelly defeated Martin C McDonagh from Ballina in the Irish Junior 2 48kgs final. It was Kelly’s first Irish title after losing in a final last year. The following day another grandson Odhrán McGinley overcame Jamie Doyle from Gilford, County Down to win the Ulster Boy 3 52kgs title.
Dungloe’s Shaun Sharkey became the first player to retain the County Pool title after defeating Donegal Town’s Shane Faulkner. Shaun recently reached the semi-finals of the European Championships.
After a hugely encouraging run in the league, which included three wins from their opening five games, Donegal’s form dipped just a little in the latter stages of the campaign and they had to settle for just a point from their final two games. That included a 1-12 to 0-13 loss to Mayo in Castlebar.
Meanwhile the Donegal Senior Ladies created another bit of history when Michael Naughton’s side recorded a superb 5-11 to 1-7
victory over Galway at Markievicz Park in Sligo to reach the county’s first ever National League Division 1 Final. That result had been preceded by excellent wins over Cork and Mayo putting Michael Naughton’s side top of the table for the first time ever in the county’s history.
Brian McElhinney, a member of the North West Golf Club, reached the final stages of the PGA Europro Tour First Stage Qualifying School. In motorsport
Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley finished second in the Monaghan Rally while another Donegal crew Declan and Brian were third in round three of the National Rally Championship. Declan Boyle’s son Michael was nominated for the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Driver of the Year Award after a number of good early season performances including winning the junior section of the Birr Stages event in a Honday Civic.
Letterkenny lad Conor McMenamin was capped for the Ireland U18s rugby team in a 29-17 win over England. And his club, Letterkenny U18s reached Ulster Cup Final for the second successive year after a 64-7 home win over Virginia RFC.
It was bad end to April for Finn Harps as Ollie Horgan’s lost 2-0 to Bohemians at Dalymount Park. That came after losing to Dundalk and Drogheda while there was also defeat in the EA Sports Cup to Sligo Rovers. But on Good Friday, Harps did bag three huge points against their arch North West rivals Derry City at Maginn Park in the club’s first ever away win over the Candystripes. And it was two substitutes B.J. Banda and Mickey Funston who scored the all important goals at the Buncrana venue.
It took a penalty shoot-out for Inishowen to reach their third Oscar Traynor Trophy Final in five years after it had ended 1-1 at the end of extra-time against Limerick and District at Maginn Park. A very late equalizer in the dying seconds of the second period of extra-time from Terence Doherty forced the penalties. After the first Inishowen spot-kick from Nigel McMonagle was saved it took two super stops from home keeper Kevin McLaughlin to secure a place in the Oscar Traynor decider.
There was disappointment for Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin as the Republic of Ireland U19 side failed to qualify for Women’s Elite European Finals that take place in Northern Ireland this summer. McLaughlin played in all three elite qualifiers. A 3-1 defeat against Finland in the final game put an end to the qualification hopes with McLaughlin dismissed for a second yellow card offence in that match.
Michael Devlin’s 70th minute goal clinched the Colin Breslin Cup title for Fanad Utd in a slender 1-0 victory over Letterkenny Rovers in Rathmullan. It meant a memorable double for Niall Doherty’s boys who last month won the Dick Duffy Memorial Donegal Youth League Championship trophy. Goals from Ryan McFadden, Kevin Mulhern and Darren McGeever helped Glenea Utd to take the Donegal Junior League Premier Division title on Sunday on their home turf at Glasherchoo 3-0 against Rathmullan Celtic. It was a great weekend for the club as their Reserve side won the Saturday Ulster Junior Shield Final 3-2 against Glencar Celtic thanks to a late Tommy Rodgers goal at at An Screaban.
Donegal Town lad Jack Keaney who plays his club football with Sligo Rovers was capped twice for the Republic of Ireland U18s against the Czech Republic and Russia at the Slovakia Cup Tournament. There was also international recognition for Bonagee Utd player Ronan McKinley who is also part of the provisional Finn Harps U15 squad. He was one of the goalscorers for the Republic of Ireland who had a 4-0 win against Norway in the opening match of an invitational tournament in Prague.
The Milford Utd soccer club went into celebration mode after their youth side captured the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Memorial Cup following a remarkable penalty shoot-out against Letterkenny Rovers in Saturday’s final at the Flagpole in Rathmullan. The final had ended 1-1 after extra-time.
Ballybofey native Johnny Dunleavy scored the crucial second goal as Cork City defeated Bray Wanderers 2-1 at Turners Cross to extend their lead at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division.
Cockhill Celtic lifted the Donegal News League Cup title for the fifth successive season thanks to a 1-0 win over Derry City Reserves at the Dry Arch thanks to a 41st minute Jimmy Bradley goal.
At the start of the month there was bitter disappointment for Deele College, Raphoe who lost 2-1 to St. Brendan’s College, Killarney in the FAI Schools Minor Boys National Cup Final at the Home Farm F.C. grounds in Dublin.
Loreto Community School Milford’s Connor Gormley and Jamie Bell, St. Columba’s College Stranorlar made their respective full international debuts for the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys that resulted in a 1-0 defeat by Scotland in Glasgow. Another St. Columba’s College student Sean McBride came on as a second half sub.
Abbey Vocational School student Peader Mogan was presented with his Ulster Schools All Star Award at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Mogan was the first pupil from the school to ever receive this award.
For further information on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter at DL Sportstars.