The Donegal Sports Star Awards review of sporting successes in February highlights a fantastic month for athletics in the county.
Mark English retained his Irish 800 metre title and qualified for the European Indoor Finals in Prague while fellow Letterkenny man Danny Mooney won the Senior Men’s 1,500m Final at the AAI Indoor Games in Athlone which put him inside the qualifying time for the same championships.
English was presented with his 2014 Overall Donegal Sports Star Award by Chairperson Neil Martin at the weekend after being unable to attend the presentation ceremony in the Mount Errigal Hotel at the end of January due to his participation in an international athletics meeting in New York.
The UCD medical student and Mooney were subsequently named on the Irish senior team for Prague. English secured his time at an Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham finishing sixth in a time of 1:47:17. The following day the Letterkenny man retained his Irish senior indoor title in Athlone in a time of 1:51:34.
Mooney also finished third in an indoor mile race at Athlone IT in a time of 4.03.88 where the winner American Ben Blankenship broke the first sub 4 minute mile in Ireland.
It was a good month for Donegal athletics as LYIT student John Kelly won the Irish Universities Indoor Shot Putt title at Athlone IT setting a new Donegal record with a throw of 15.83m. And later in February at the Irish Indoor Finals Kelly, a member of the Finn Valley Club, took silver in the Shot Putt with a throw of 15.97m. Also in Athlone Mary McLoone won her 10th gold medal after taking the triple jump title with a leap of 12.10 metres. Milford’s Brendan Boyce came second in the 5k walk.
The Magee family from Raphoe was in top form at the Irish National Badminton Championships in Lisburn. Chloe won the Ladies Singles and along with Sam took the Mixed Doubles title. Sam and Joshua won the Men’s Doubles. Their cousin Kyle Magee won both the Boys U-15 Singles and Mixed Doubles. Chloe’s niece Rachael Darragh was a beaten finalist in both the Ladies Singles and Doubles Finals.
Also in February the Magees were members of the Irish team that lost to Denmark at the quarter-finals stage of the European Team Championships in Belgium. The highlight of the Irish performance was the win by Chloe Magee over Line Kjaersfeldt who was two places above her in the rankings (21-17), (21-23) (21-11).
There was a super success for Dungloe man Shaun Sharkey who was a member of the Irish team that won the European 8 Ball Pool Championship in Paris defeating England in the final. In motorsport there was a first major rally success for Donagh Kelly (Frosses) and Kevin Flanagan (Derry) who won the Galway International while the victors in the National section were Ardara’s Declan Gallagher and Ryan Moore (Letterkenny).
Later in the month Kelly and Flanaghan in their Ford Focus WRC won the opening round of the National Rally Championship in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois.
There was success for three members of Stranorlar’s Viking Fit Powerlifting Club at the national championships in Cork. Paulina Coleman won the Bench Press and came third in the squat dead lift. Her husband Mick a reigning world champion won the equip bench press and came second in the raw bench. Letterkenny businessman John Watson became dead lift champion and he was second in the bench press. Another reigning world champion Maria McShane came second in the deadlift and set a new Irish record. Also in Cork, Fit-Hub Letterkenny’s Sinead Doherty won the 140kg dead lift.
The Donegal Women’s veterans atheltics team took silver medals at the National Masters and Intermediate Cross-Country Championships in Tuam. The Finn Valley Women won the Club Masters title while Letterkenny AC’s Natasha Adams was the first individual home. The Donegal Ladies Bowls won the IIBA Women’s Inter-zone title at Killyclogher overcoming Armagh who were looking to win the title for a seventh time.
It was a very good month for the Donegal Ladies senior side who won their opening three NFL Division 2 games against Down, Ulster champions Armagh and Clare.
There was promising news for young Raphoe Hockey Club members Ben Wallace and Alexander Tinney who were named on the Ireland U16 panel.
It was a good end to February for Ballybofey’ Larissa Muldoon who scored a crucial second half try that gave Ireland a super 11-8 Six Nations win over England in Ashbourne. Also on the winning team was Fahan’s Nora Stapleton.
Earlier in the month Muldoon and Stapleton both featured as the half-back partnership as the Irish scored a 30-5 win over Italy in Florence but the pair also experienced defeat the following week in the second Six Nations game going down 10-5 to France in Ashbourne.
Letterkenny native Kieran O’Gorman came on for the final ten minutes as the Irish Club representative side lost 23-18 to Scotland in Galashiels. At the beginning of the month North West Snooker Club members Aidan and Sean Devenney, Conor and Eamonn Harkin and Ronan Whyte reached the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Snooker Championships in Killarney.
Four Donegal girls Ciana Brogan, Caoimhe Walsh and Zoe Green from Lagan Harps and Aoife McColgan (Illies) were capped for the Republic of Ireland U16 side at a EUFA Development Tournament in Dublin. A Republic of Ireland squad of home based players that played Wales in two away international friendlies included Letterkenny Rovers quartet Gareth Doherty, Adrian Delap, Jason McGee and Daire O’Baoill along with Lee McCarron of Finn Harps. A Doherty penalty in the first game gave the Irish a 1-0 win over the Welsh.
Donegal County Council are the exclusive sponsors of the Donegal Sports Star Awards which take place annually at the end of January. The organizing committee is already preparing for the big 40th awards celebrations. For further information go to donegalsportsstarawards.ie or Facebook Donegalsports Starawards.