A number of sports enjoyed super successes in July and many of the winners will be expecting to be in the frame for recognition at the end of the Year when the Donegal Sports Star Awards Committee commences their deliberations on the various categories.
And already a number of names have emerged as the possible winner of the overall award which is currently held by Donegal GAA player Karl Lacey.
Some of the stand out performers of the month included the boxer Meave McCarron who won bronze at the European Championships while there was also Mark English’s sixth place finish and PB time at the prestigious Olympic anniversary meeting in London.
The rising star of Finn Valley’s John Kelly continued through July as the St. Johnston lad won a national shot putt gold which secured him a place on the Irish team for the Celtic International Games in Wrexham along with another FV athlete Blathnaid Patton (Triple Jump) and Tirconaill AC’s Kelly McGrory.
There was international basketball success for twins Tadhg and Cian Hickey (Letterkenny Blaze) who helped the Irish U-17s to defeat England while in martial arts Josie Murray won two gold medals at the Jiu Jitsu at the International Brazilian Championships and in rugby Letterkenny lad Justin Allen was a member of the USA Rugby Boys High School side which toured Argentina.
On the first weekend of the month there were six gold medals for Donegal at the Irish Juvenile Track & Fields Championships in Tullamore with the winners including the Kelly brothers John and James (PB) Shot; Finn Valley’s Blathnaid Patton (Triple Jump) and Aaron McGlynn (800m); Katie Hoad, Tirconaill AC (U-17 Girls Pole Vault) and Kelly McGrory in the U-18 400m hurdles.
It was a busy July for Mark English which didn’t start off so well but ended on a high as the Letterkenny AC lad recorded a personal best in Santry of 1:45:32 for the 800m just 0.02 seconds outside the qualifying time for the World Championships.
However he had made the time for Moscow after finishing 6th in a time 1.44.84 at the London Olympic Stadium. He also won silver at the National Championships at the Morton Stadium in the 400m. Fellow LAC member Brendan Boyce won gold and set a new PB in the 10km Walk at the same competition and Finn Valley’s Tori Pena was the winner of the pole vault.
Tirconaill AC’s Mary McLoone took two silvers in the Long Jump and Triple Jump at the Morton Stadium and t the same venue Lifford’s AC’s Anne Marie McGlynn medal was second in the 5,000 metres while there was a bronze for Darren McBrearty in the 800 metres.
The Tirconaill AC Women’s qualified for the league final in Sligo and both Letterkenny AC’s Ruairi Finnegan and Finn Valley’s Sarah Collins had seventh place finished finishes in their respective finals at the European Junior Championships in Italy. However, there was disappointment for Tirconaill’s Karl Griffin who failed to qualify for his final.
In the middle of the month Brendan O’Donnell (Lifford AC) took gold in the U-15 Hammer Throw at the National Juvenile Track & Field Championships in Tullamore while club colleague Alan McGinley also picked up a medal. Also in Tullamore John Kelly took gold in the Shot Putt as did his club colleague Aaron McGlynn in the 1,500m.
John Kelly’s younger brother James won silver in the discus. Blathnaid Patton, Niamh McGranaghan and Simone Crawford were also medalists while Jordan Byrne took silver in the walk. Caoimhe Byrne (Sliabh Liag AC) took silver in the U-16 Pole Vault. Tara Carr (Letterkenny AC) won silver in the U-17 high jump.
Twins Tadhg and Cian Hickey helped the Irish U-17s to defeat England at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. The Kilmacrennan lads who are students at St. Eunan’s College play their club baskedtball with Blaze in Letterkenny.
The big county boxing story came on the third day of July when Carrigart’s Meave McCarron won a bronze medal at the European Women’s Boxing Championships in Hungary and she only lost out narrowly on a place in the final and a silver medal. Three young Donegal boxers Bryan McNamee (Convoy), Brian Elliott (Letterkenny ABC) and Leon Gallagher (Finn Valley ABC) were selected to represent Ireland at the European Schoolboy Boxing Championships City West Hotel in Dublin.
St. Johnston’s Ryan McBeth was picked for the Irish U-15 cricket side for the ICC European Championships while there was international cycling success for Letterkenny’s Conor McElwaine in Europe while Errigal CC’s Ciara Doogan was on the Irish Girls Team that competed in Holland.
In the sport of equestrian
Clodagh Barry (Newtown) and Lisa Moore (Ramelton) were selected for the young Irish horse riding team for European Championships in September in Belgium. At the TREC Ireland National Championships in Mullingar Christopher Pyper of Ramelton was the winner of the Grangeclare Cup for the highest scoring level 1 rider. Christopher and his partner Louise Edwards also finished second in the Level 1 pairs championship. In the level 3 individual category, Lisa Moore was placed 3rd and was the highest scoring young rider (U21) of the weekend.
And at the National Show Jumping Championships
Patricia Warren, based at Killult Stables in Falcarragh, produced the fastest clear round of the day to win the Advanced Intermediate title in Mullingar.
In GAA Naomh Conaill were crowned Division 1 U14 county champions for the first time in their history after a fantastic 5-8 to 2-13 win over St.Eunans. On the same night Killybegs won the Division 2 U-14 county title defeating Naomh Columba. Aodh Ruadh took the county minor hurling title after defeating Buncrana. There was some consolation for Buncrana who won the U-14A hurling final overcoming Aodh Ruadh.
Despite a remarkable 3-5 from Milford’s Amber Barrett the Donegal Ladies Minor side suffered a heavy 10-18 to 3-6 defeat at the hands of Dublin at Breffni Park. After a ten match unbeaten run over three years Donegal surrendered their Ulster Senior Football Championship crown to Monaghan in Clones but maintained their bid for back-to-back All-Ireland titles by defeating Laois in a fourth round qualifier game. The Donegal Ladies senior side made their championship exit going down to Westmeath in a qualifier at Breffni Park.
The big news in motorsport in the month was Declan and Brian Boyle in a Subaru WRC winning the Sligo Park Hotel Rally to take a 36 points lead in the National Championship. In rowing Sinead and Catriona Jennings competed in the national championships.
18-year-old Justin Allen toured Argentina with the USA Rugby Boys High School side. Justin who is 6’10” qualifies to play for the USA through his mother Kathleen who is a native of Nebraska. He now plays his club rugby with the Portadown U-19s having moved from Letterkenny RFC.
There was disappointment on the soccer front for the Inishowen League who lost the Oscar Traynor Cup Final 3-1 against the AUL (Dublin) at Tolka Park.
Five Donegal players represented Ireland at the World Universities Games in Kazan, Russia. The men’s team finished fifth overall while the women’s side were sixth at the end of the competition. Letterkenny’s Cillian Morrison and Raymond Foy from Castlefin were the county’s male representatives while Donegal’s female squad members were Ciara Grant (Letterkenny) and the two Termon women Geradline McLaughlin and Roisin McCafferty. McLaughlin and McCafferty were only home briefly in Ireland from Kazan before heading off with the Sligo IT side to the European Universities Futsal Championships in Spain.
Finn Harps players Darragh Black (Milford) and Chris Flanaghan (Letterkenny) have been included in a Republic of Ireland 1996 age group squad to play two friendly games against Ipswich Town on the 12th and 14th of August.
Donegal Town lad Liam Martin made his European Champions League debut as a sub for Sligo Rovers in their 1-0 defeat at the Showgrounds against Norwegian side Molde. And Ramelton’s Barry McNamee played in both legs of the Europa Cup for Derry City against Turkish side Trabzonspor but the Candystripes lost 7-2 on aggregate. At the end of the month McNamee was selected to travel with the Republic of Ireland’s U-21 squad to the Faroe Islands for the opening UEFA qualifier game for the 2015 Euro Finals.
There was great news for Kilmacrennan Celtic as Trevor Gorman picked up the FAI ‘Best Publication’ award on behalf of the club at the annual presentation function in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.
Three Inishowen girls Roma McLaughlin, Sarah Jane McDonald and Nicole Gordon were members of the Republic of Ireland women’s U17s squad who won the international Carrickfergus Cup in Carrickfergus after two games against Northern Ireland. In the first game the Republic had a comfortable 6-2 victory with McLaughlin and McDonald among the scorers while Gordon also started the game.
The second game saw a 2-0 win for the girls making it 8-2 on aggregate with McDonald getting her second goal of the competition. McLaughlin started the second game while McDonald came on as a sub.
In the last week of the month the Inishowen U-13 Schoolboys did superbly well to win a top title at the Foyle Cup while the Donegal U-14 Schoolboys were runners-up in their final. The Lagan and Greencastle ladies also lifted cups in their respective categories.
In the sport of swimming Inishowen man Ian Gaynor moved to Philadelphia to begin an international scholarship at Widener University. The 20-year-old Inishowen native was a member of the City of Derry Club.
Letterkenny 24/7s Aidan Callaghan excellent triathlon performances continued as he finished 5th (second in his age group) at the National Championships in Athlone at the beginning of July. He followed that up by winning the Letterkenny 24/7 annual spring triathlon around Gartan Lake.
There was success for schools athletes Kate McGowan and Kelly McGrory from Abbey VS who won three medals that helped Team Ireland finish second at the School’s Track & Field International at the Morton Stadium in Dublin. McGowan won two silvers in the 800m and Long Jump respectively while it was bronze for McGrory in the 300m hurdles. For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards visit donegalsportsstarawards.ie or find us on Facebook at DonegalSports Starawards