November was a month when a number of the county’s sporting stars picked up awards while other individuals and teams enjoyed super successes. On the GAA front the County Board Player of the Year awards went to Paddy McBrearty of Kilcar and Yvonne McMonagle of Glenfin. The club awards went to Glenfin (senior), Milford (Intermediate) and Naomh Colmcille (junior). It’s the second last Donegal Sports Star Awards monthly review of 2017.
On the last Saturday in November the Naomh Colmcille Club made history by becoming the first team from Donegal to win the Ulster Junior Football Championship after defeating Bellnaleck 1-9 to 0-6 in the final at Celtic Park with Mattie Crossan’s goal midway through the second half the key score of the decider.
There was a hugh honour for Donegal Ladies GAA at the end of the month when the Hegarty sisters Ciara and Niamh were named at centre-half-back and centre-half-forward respectively on the 2017 TG4 Ladies Football All-Star team at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin. Despite a superb display from Michael Murphy who was the second highest scorer for Ireland with 20 points, it was Australia who won the first leg of the Australian Rules Series in the Adelaide Oval on a score of 63-53.
At the start of November another number club who created history was Setanta who won their first ever Ulster Hurling Championship title after a thrilling three-point win over Na Magha in the Junior Final at McCumhaill Park (2-17 to 3-11). The County Board Player of the Year was confirmed as Setanta’a Davin Flynn.
It was a good month for former Irish international boxing star Danny Ryan who first won Gold in the 500m sprint and also took bronze in the 2km open age group in the men’s lightweight at the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships in Motherwell. At the same championships John Doohan won silver in the 2k Heavyweight Race and also finished in a Personal Best time.
Three weeks later in Limerick at the Irish Provinces Indoor competition Ryan won two gold and a bronze in his age category in the 2k and 500m lightweight races while he finished third in the 1k heavyweight event. Danny also set a new Irish lightweight record in the 40-49 age group.
His son Keane took gold in the U23 2k race and followed that with a silver in the 500m open lightweight event. Cloughaneely’s Bernard Doohan also took bronze in the 40 to 49 age group 2k race. Aiden Greene of Kincasslagh won silver in the U23 2k, Dinny McCullagh, Cloughaneely took bronze in the men’s lightweight 2k 30 to 39 age group.
It was also a November to remember for Milford woman Amber Barrett who was the star of the Continental Tyres Women’s National League Awards as she scooped the Player of the Year and Golden Boot gongs. The Republic of Ireland and Peamount United striker was presented with her awards at a ceremony in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin.
Barrett was also named in the Continental Tyres Women’s National League 2017 Team of the Year.
Then at the end of the month Barrett and St. Johnston’s Tyler Toland played their part as the Republic of Ireland senior ladies secured a super 0-0 draw against the reigning UEFA European champions the Netherlands in Nijmegen in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
St Johnston’s Ronan Curtis was on the Republic of Ireland side that went down 2-1 away in Norway in a UEFA European Championship qualifier. There was a big disappointment for Leitirmacaward man Carl McHugh’s whose hopes of captaining Motherwell to the Scottish League Cup title were dashed by Celtic who won the final 2-0 at Hampden Park.
In horseracing Champion Apprentice Jockey Oisin Orr completed a double at Dundalk on when the young Rathmullan man rode Timia to win the concluding Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Handicap (div 2) for trainer Keith Clarke. The previous week the 20-year-old had been crowned Champion Apprentice Jockey after saddling 20 winners during the season.
Five members of the Three Rivers Shotokan Club Emma Dolan, Ciaran Crawford, Ace Rodrigues, Brodie Hannigan and Eoin Crawford all took home gold medals from the Karate Ireland Kumite Championships in Dublin while Mark Doherty was a bronze winner. Meanwhile there was big success for the North West Shotokan Karate Club in Carlow taking 12 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals.
Letterkenny AC’s Karol Duggan continued his tremendous recent form in athletics by storming to victory in the Donegal Senior Cross-County Championship at the Finn Valley Centre. Ciaran Doherty, another very consistent LAC performer, was third. Fine runs by the other four LAC runners earned silver medals for the team who were being beaten by a good Finn Valley outfit.
Terrific packing ensured that the women’s team retained the title they won last year. Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin was first across the line in the women’s event and was followed by the very consistent Letterkenny AC pair of Nakita Burke and Noeleen Scanlan which helped give LAC the team title.
Karol Duggan’s scintillating 2017 cross country season reached another huge high in the British and Irish Masters’ Cross Country International at Gransha, Derry. He was up against the top Masters from Ireland and Britain and finished 12th overall and seventh in the M35 race. He helped his team to gold medals.
Finn Valley’s Dermot McElchar was on the Irish O40 team that took gold while fellow club member Kay Byrne was on the international team that finished second in the women’s category and Noreen Bonner was a scorer on the winning O60 team.
At the Ulster Novice Championships the Letterkenny AC men’s team made light work of the heavy mud at the Finn Valley Centre to win gold. Dan King was third overall and the first LAC counter. Milford AC won the Ulster Novice Women’s Cross Country team title in Stranorlar with Tara Carron, Gillian Marley and Siobhan McHugh being the scorers on the day. Sean McGinley, in the Olympian YAC colours, won the U15 Boys at the Ulster and Northern Ireland Cross Country Championships at Finn Valley. Sean who had won the U16 title a few weeks earlier also led the Donegal county team to bronze in Finn Valley.
Letterkenny’s Catriona Jennings was the second female international athlete to cross the line in the 10k Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababe. Fodhla McFadden from the Rosses Club was honoured with an Ulster Athletics Council Sports Star Award in the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan.
In mid November Letterkenny navigator Rory Kennedy was part of the winning crew on Isle of the Man with English man Arron Newby taking their Teg Sport Subaru to victory in the Pokerstars Rally which included night stages on the Friday. Pettigo man Kevin Eves was selected as one of the three finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award. 26-year-old Eves has had a very successful 2017 culminating in him winning the Irish Tarmac Rally Modified Championship.
Mona McSharry the Marlins Swimming Club, Ballyshannon club member was one of 12 athletes who have been awarded Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to assist with qualification and preparations for the Toyko 2000 Games. Young Glenswilly lad Cathal Gallagher received great news that he was selected to take part in a cycling scholarship in Spain. The Errigal Cycling Club member is one of 15 riders from across Europe who will take part in a week-long training camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in early January.
A memorable milestone was reached by Illies Golden Gloves Secretary Sadie Duffy who refereed her 50th international tournament at the Women’s World Junior Boxing Championships in Guhawati, India. There was huge disappointment for Carndonagh boxer Labhaoise Clarke as a hand injury denied her the chance of winning at least a bronze medal at the Women’s World Youth Championships in India. As a result of the injury Clarke’s last 16 fight against a Mongolian opponent was stopped in the second round. On the last Friday in November, St. Johnston’s Brett McGinty suffered defeat in his Ulster Elite Welterweight Final at Belfast’s Ulster Hall and a major blow in terms of his hopes of representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. Meanwhile, Letterkenny native Stephen McMonagle who fights out of the Holy Trinity Club in Belfast won the Ulster Super Heavyweight title on a walkover.
Dungloe ABC’s Matthew McCole won his Irish Amateur Boxing Association senior semi-final in the 64kg category overcoming Ryan O’Rourke 3-0 from St. Michael’s in Dublin at the National Stadium. Also securing a place in the national finals was Illies ABC’s Cathal Browne in the Light Heavyweight Division.
Kilcar’s bid for a place in the Ulster Senior Football Championship Club Final was derailed by reigning title holders Slaughneil on a score of 2-17 to 0-17 at Healy Park in Omagh. It was a semi-final that Barry Doherty’s men could have won but a failure to finish off any of a handful of goal chances put paid to hopes of the Towney faithful. Less than 24 hours later the dream of a first ever appearance in an Ulster Club Final for Milford came to a very disappointing end at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh as Danny O’Donnell’s side missed a golden opportunity to make the decider despite not playing anywhere near their best against the Down outfit Rostrevor (0-13 to 0-12).
Four Masters club man Hugh Devenney was the recipient of an appreciation award at the Ulster Ladies GAA 25 year celebration function in Kelly’s Inn for his services to the female football from 1992. Gweedore won the Donegal U21 A Championship Final with a 3-11 to 3-5 win over Naomh Conaill at the O’Donnell Park helped by three goals from Cian Mulligan.
The Finesse Gymnastics Club enjoyed medal success at the GymStart Challenge in the new national indoor arena at the National Sports Complex in Dublin. Lagan Harps’ Zoe Green was named as the 2017 North West Women’s Super League Player of the Year at the inaugural awards function in the Lake of Shadows Hotel, Buncrana.
In the middle of the month Finn Harps U15 players’ goalkeeper Patrick McGarvey and right-full-back Fionnan Coyle were members of the Republic of Ireland squad who lost 2-0 to Poland at Whitehall in Dublin. McGarvey who was in from the start saved a first half penalty while Coyle came on the Republic of Ireland si as a 65th minute substitute. The Finn Harps U15s missed out on a place in the national final after losing 2-1 to Athlone Town at the Dry Arch. Kevin McHugh’s side dominated long periods of the semi-final but found themselves 2-0 down at the break. An early second half Conor Black goal gave the hosts hope but Athlone held out for a place in the decider.
Gweedore Celtic became the first junior soccer club in the country to receive the FAI’s Club Mark award for governance, administration, coaching, child welfare policies and included 20 criteria in total.
The Ulster Schools soccer side finished runners-up in the National Inter-provincial Schools Finals
after only managing a 2-2 draw with Leinster on Sunday in Dublin.
Paul Browne’s boys needed a win and did lead 2-1 through two goals from St. Eunan’s College player Michael Gallagher. However a Leinster penalty ensured that there was would be no back-to-back titles for the Ulster boys.
Meanwhile the Ulster Senior League secured a second-place finish at the FAI Intermediate Inter-League Tournament in Galway thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over Munster at Mervue.
Tony McNamee, Conor Tourish and Oisin McMenamin netted as Anthony Gorman’s side secured the runners-up spot, behind the victors Leinster who won all three of their games.
For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards go to donegalsportsstarwards.ie on Facebook at Donegalsport Starawards or on twitter at DL Sportstars.