On the national front the Ulster Senior League winning the FAI National Inter-provincial tournament for only the second time ever was one of the highlights that the adjudicating committee will run the rule at the end of the year.
The 38th Donegal Sports Star Awards function takes place in the Mount Errigal Hotel on Friday, January 31st. Also expected to be in the mix for recognition is the Donegal Ladies team who won the National Surf Lifesaving title along with young Zach Gibson (Go-karting), athletes Arlene Crossan and Anne Marie McGlynn, cyclist Ciara Doogan, showjumper Shannon Ramsay, Damien Faulkner (motorsport) and the Cockhill and USL manager Donal O’Brien.
O’Brien had an incredible month of success in September O’Brien guiding his club Cockhill Celtic to an Ulster Senior League and Cup double before being joint manager of the USL team who won the FAI National Inter-provincial tournament for only the second time ever.
In the team award category the Donegal Ladies who won the National Surf Lifesaving title for the sixth time in a row on Curracloe Beach will expect to be nominated. The team included Triona McMenamin (Letterkenny); Tahita Britton (Rossnowlagh); Meadh McCloskey, Sarah Patton and Danika Maguire (Ballyshannon).
In motorsport Moville racing driver Damien Faulkner claimed a first win of the season for his TRG team in the American Le Mans series in Austin, Texas. 12-year-old Zach Gibson from Trentagh achieved stunning results in Go-Karting winning the Southern Ireland karting championship.
The 38th Donegal Sports Star Awards committee will also be anticipating a nomination for Arlene Crossan the Loreto Convent Letterkenny student who posted an impressive series of results to win the Ulster Schools Multi events at the Mary Peters track in Belfast in September.
Lifford AC’s Ann Marie McGlynn superb season continued as she won the ladies section of the Waterside Half-Marathon in Derry last month while Pauric McKinney won the Masters section in a time of 72.31 which placed him sixth overall.
Mark English just failed to beat his personal best despite a superb run in Italy clocking 1.44.89 to come fourth in the 800 metres. The UCD student is now just two hundredths of a second off the Irish 800m record held by Kildare man David Matthews, who ran 1:44.82 in Rieti almost two decades ago.
The winning run of Rossapenna GC came to a heartbreaking end as the golfers lost 3-2 in the AIG Senior Cup Final to Co. Sligo at the Royal Tara Golf Club. And there was also defeat for Letterkenny Golf Club in the final of the GUI Ulster Cup to Cairndhu GC after the second leg at Barnhill. Burnfoot professional golfer Brian McElhinney won the PGA Irish Assistants Championship at Nuremore, Co. Monaghan
In badminton sister and brother Chloe and Sam Magee lost their Belgium semi-final against a Danish pair after a shock victory against the number one seeds from England. In boxing Donegal middleweight Joseph Duffy went to Southern Germany to defeat a Romanian opponent Ionut Trandafir Ilie while the Buncrana Banger John Hutchinson also won a professional bout in Belfast against a Hungarian opponent.
Letterkenny born cyclist Philip Deignan signed a deal with the famous Team Sky racing outfit, which will see him linkup with some of the world’s top cyclists including Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome next season. However there was to be disappointment for Deignan when he missed out on representing Ireland at the Road World Championships in Italy after breaking his collarbone in the Tour of Britain.
Errigal Cycling Club’s Ciara Doogan had a first and a second at the Sainsbury School Games in Sheffield. The sport of equestrian is also likely to feature on the 2013 Donegal Sports Star Awards honours list with a number of exciting successes in September including Letterkenny showjumper Shannon Ramsey who was crowned Ulster Region League Champion in Cavan on her gelding Bracken.
17-year-old Lisa Moore from Ramelton represented Ireland at the Eurotrec Young Riders Championships, held in Belguim. She was the highest scoring Irish rider on the POR phase and second highest on the PTV.
There were men’s and women’s GAA finals in September. At the beginning of the month Termon won the county senior Ladies Football Championship for the third time in four years while Milford took the Donegal Intermediate title for the first time at MacCumhaill Park.
Burt won the Donegal senior hurling title but reigning champions St. Eunan’s were sensationally knocked out of the senior football championship at the quarter-final stage by Malin who were joined in the semi-finals by Glenswilly, Killybegs and Ardara.
Naomh Ultan won the Junior B Championship while Moville took the St Jude’s All Ireland. Naomh Conaill defeated Ardara in the U-16 League Final at Davy Brennan Memorial Park and the Buncrana ladies adult team made history winning the club’s first title at this level taking the Junior B football title.
The Minor B Championship Hurling Final was won by St Eunan’s who were also victorious in the U12 Hurling County A Final. The Three Rivers Shotokan Karate Club took home three gold and two bronze medals from the JKS National Championships
There was international soccer recognition for four young Donegal girls last month, which is also expected to attract the attention of the Donegal Sports Star Awards Committee. At the beginning of the month Milford girl Amber Barrett grabbed a 85th minute equalizer which earned her Republic of Ireland U-19 side a 1-1 away draw with Portugal in an international friendly.
Later in September Gemma McGuinness (Greencastle) and Barrett (Lagan Harps) were members of the Republic of Ireland U-19 squad who played three games at the end of the month in the UEFA Women’s Championship qualifying tournament in Dublin.
Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin was on the Republic of Ireland U-17 side that lost 2-1 to Spain in Romania in an Elite Phase UEFA Championship qualifier. Also in the squad was her club mate Sara Jane McDonald.
Meanwhile, Letterkenny’s Ciara Grant was in the Republic of Ireland Women’s senior squad for two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches which included a 2-0 home win over Slovakia and an away draw against Croatia.
Greencastle FC won the Ulster Women’s Cup Final with a 3-2 win over Lagan Harps at Maginn Park thanks to a double from Sarah Jane McDonald and one from Niamh McLaughlin. In the U-14 Ulster Girls Final also at Maginn Park on the same day a Shania McGonagle goal gave Illies Celtic a 1-0 win over Greencastle.
The Glenree Utd girls were crowned U-12 blitz champions of Donegal in Ballyare. Milford Utd took the silverware in the Letterkenny Area Brian McCormick Shield Final after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over holders Rathmullan Celtic at the Flagpole. The other area winners Dunkineely Celtic, Glenea Utd and Castlefin Celtic.
Ramelton’s Barry McNamee was an unused sub as the Republic of Ireland lost 4-0 to Germany in an UEFA U-21 qualifier in Sligo. There will be no World Cup for Seamus Coleman next year as the Republic of Ireland lost two vital qualifiers to Sweden (2-1) and Austria (1-0).
Finn Harps made their exit from the FAI Senior Cup losing 2-0 in a quarter-final replay against Drogheda Utd at Hunky Dory Park. Isle of Doagh man Stephen McLaughlin made his debut for Bristol City in a 2-0 away defeat to Southampton in the Capital One League Cup.
McLaughlin moved from Derry City to Nottingham Forest at Christmas and is now on loan with Bristol City. Four days later McLaughlin came off the bench to make his League 1 debut setting up the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Colchester Utd.
Young Moville Celtic coach Eunan McDaid was part of the Northern Ireland management team who played in the first ever ‘Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland. Eunan was an Assistant Coach with the team, which won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the global event.
In Triathlon Margaret Kelly competed in Las Vegas while her 24/7 club colleague Aidan Callaghan had wins in Rosses Point, Mullaghmore and Gartan. Siobhan Gallagher from Gartan a member of the Sligo Triathlon Club finished ninth in both the Aquathon (swim and run) and sprint in the 20-24 age group in London at the ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon World Championships. Hazel Scorer from Dungloe, a member of Triathlon Ireland, finished 39th overall in her age group (30-34) at the same championships.
For further details on the Donegal Sports Star Awards visit donegalsportsstarawards.ie or find us on Facebook at DonegalSports Starawards