Donegal continued to deliver sporting success in the final month of the year with Letterkenny AC’s Anne-Marie McGlynn captaining the Irish Women’s team to a bronze medal at the European Championships in Bulgaria while there were national boxing titles for Bernie Stokes, Darryl Moran and Noel McBride.
Finn Valley AC fighter Michael Gallagher was honoured by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association and Termon GAA star Geraldine McLaughlin picked up the Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly award while Ardara’s Ronan Whyte won a National U-16 tournament
Some of these high achievers will be hoping to feature among the nominees for the Donegal Sports Star Awards which take place on Friday, January 30th in the Mount Errigal Hotel. In athletics at the beginning of December Cranford AC’s Oisin Kelly won gold in the U-11 at the National Novice and Uneven Age Cross-Country Championships in Santry. Oisin also led his club and Donegal to silver medals in the team sections. In the middle of the month Anne-Marie McGlynn captained the Irish Women’s team to a bronze medal at the European Championships in Bulgaria. McGlynn who finished 46th was the final Irish scoring team member to secure third place just a point ahead of the French. Athletics Ireland made a special presentation to Milford AC’ Hugh Gallagher for the being the first Irish person over 90 years of age to win Track & Field medals which the Carrigart man achieved with a combined eight golds at national indoor and outdoor events in Athlone and Tullamore respectively.
In snooker North West Snooker Club player Ronan Whyte, from Ardara, won a National U-16 tournament in Letterkenny with a 3-1 win over Jason Hagan. Before Christmas Coaliste Ailigh Letterkenny won the County U-16 blitz and will now play in the Ulster Schools competition in the New Year. Meanwhile Abbey VS defeated Carrick VS 33-23 to reach the All-Ireland Basketball play-offs which take place on Saturday 17th January in Galway. It was another good month for Donegal boxers with national titles for Bernie Stokes who became the first Twin Towns Bluestacks BC boxer to win in an Irish Final in the Intermediate super heavyweight final. There were also National Intermediate Championship titles for Loughanure native Noel McBride, a member of Corrib BC in Galway and Daryl Moran, Illies Golden Gloves BC.
On the Saturday before Christmas Michael Gallagher was honoured at the Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s annual awards night when he was presented with an Olympic Achiever Award following his winning of a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in August. In cycling Dunlewey girl Amanda Gallagher was selected to join the 2015 Irish Cycling Talent Team. She was one of just four girls and eight boys chosen. That will be whittled down to three girls and three boys for the Irish squad that will represent the country at the Youth Olympics in Georgia next summer.
At the beginning of December Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly) was named Donegal ‘Senior Player of the Year’. And Paul Sheridan (Aodh Ruadh Ballyshannon) was the recipient of the Donegal ‘Senior Hurler of the Year’ award. The Termon Ladies rounded of a truly historic season for the club by winning the Division 1 League title. Geraldine McLaughlin also picked up the Ulster GAA Writers Association awards for her stunning performance when captaining her team to victory in the All-Ireland Ladies’ SFC final during November.
Five players from Donegal were nominated for the Gaelic Life Ulster Club All-Star awards. In the list of 45 were St. Eunan’s players Conal Dunne and Rory Kavanagh along with Cloughaneely goalkeeper Sean McClafferty and the Urris pair Michael Grant and Kevin McLaughlin who is also nominated for the Young Footballer of the Year award. Gweedore won the Donegal Minor ‘A’ Championship Final while Glenswilly’s Cormac Callaghan was named on the Ulster College’s All-Star team for his performances in helping St. Eunan’s win the McLarnon Cup. He became only the seventh player from the College to win the Ulster All-Star honour. On the Saturday before Christmas a goal in the dying seconds of injury time from Sean Hume helped St. Eunan’s lift the Donegal U-21 ‘A’ Football Championship title with a 3-12 to 1-15 win over Kilcar in the final. The following day a flying finish from Milford saw them win the Donegal U-21 ‘B’ Football Championship Final overcoming Convoy on a score of 3-10 to 2-9.
In early December Paul McGinley was named as the manager of the Irish Men’s and Women’s Golf teams for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. And Anne Condon became the first lady President of Letterkenny Golf Club. Raphoe Hockey Club reached the final of the Linden Cup for the second time in three years with a dramatic 10-9 penalty strokes win over South Antrim at Stormont. There were gold medals and a bronze for the Three Rivers Shotokan Karate Club from Lifford at the O.N.A.K.I. Open in Tallaght, Dublin. The golds went to Emma Doherty, Natasha Crawford and Claire Doherty while there was a bronze for Ryan Doherty.
In December it was confirmed that Buncrana man Sean McCarter will be presented with a prestigious ‘Outstanding Seamanship’ award at a function in the Cruising Club of America at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan on March. He is receiving the award for his role as skipper in the dramatic life saving rescue of a crew member in the Pacific Ocean last March during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race on board the Derry-Londonderry-Doire. Loreto Convent Letterkenny’s Emma Vaughan, Cara Nulty and Emma Harvey all won gold medals at the Loreto Schools All-Ireland Finals.
The Mulroy College Milford became Ulster Senior Girls Schools champions for the sixth time defeating Gweedore in Dunfanaghy. On the Sunday before Christmas there was bad news for Ramelton man Conrad Logan who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the first minute of Rochdale’s League 1 game against Notts Forrest ruling the 28-year-old Ramelton goalkeeper out for the rest of the season. It was a devastating blow for Logan, who was on loan from Leicester City, as he had been fine form for Dale producing a ‘Man of the Match’ performance to keep his on-loan club Rochdale in the FA Cup at the beginning of the month in a second round tie that ended scoreless away against Aldershot before winning the replay 4-1 set up a third round FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest.
Seamus Coleman and Mark English were both nominees for the RTÉ Sport Person of the Year which was won by golfer Rory McIlroy and where the ‘Hall of Fame’ went to rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll. For further information go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or on Facebook at donegalsports starawards.