The month of August threw up a variety of sporting highlights adding to the long list of Donegal high achievers so far in 2013.
Those individuals and teams that excelled last month will all be hoping to be in the frame for recognition at the annual Donegal Sports Star Awards function, which takes place at the end of January.
One of the big winners was 31-year-old Letterkenny woman Vienna White who won two medals, a silver in the 3000m race walk and a bronze in the Shot Putt at the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa. Another highlight was Finn Valley BC’s talented young fighter Leon Gallagher returning to the Twin Towns with a European Schoolboys Boxing bronze medal.
Without doubt the highlight of the Motorsport month came on Sunday August 11th when cousins Declan and Brian Boyle were crowned Dunlop National Rally champions after winning in Tipperary in their Subaru WRC. There was provincial success for Rosapenna GC who won the Ulster section of the Irish Senior Cup in dramatic fashion at the famous Royal County Down Golf Club.
In the water Anne Marie Ward completed a monumental swim of the freezing waters of the Bering Strait from Alaska to Siberia. The Portnablagh woman was part of a team from a dozen countries who took part in the relay event over three days and 96 km. Along with Anne Marie was her training partner Nuala Moore, 42, who has family links in Killybegs.
In athletics less than a month after his 21st place finish at the World Championships in the Ukraine Finn Valley’s John Kelly had a personal best in the shot at 18.43m as the young St. Johnston man won gold at the Celtic games in Colwyn Bay, Wales.
Two other young Donegal athletes also struck gold in the competition involving the best U18 talent in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Another Finn Valley athlete Blathnaid Patton won the triple jump with a 10.86 while Kelly McGrory of Tirconaill AC set a new Celtic record in winning the 400m final. John Kelly made the headlines again later in the month this time in Belfast where the Finn Valley member set a new 14.12m Shot Putt record which had been held for 70 years by John Gallagher from Cruit Island at an athletics meeting in Thornton, Scotland, in 1943.
The incredible sporting year of Jason Quigley continued last month when the elite Irish boxer won two international bouts in less than 24 hours in France to prove why many people are already tipping him for Olympic success. Quigley got unanimous verdicts from the judges when overcoming Polish and French opponents at the tournament in Berck. The Finn Valley ABC man also signed a sponsorship deal with SKY Sport.
At the other end of the age spectrum Aidan Gillespie the Rosses AC Club captain won two golds’ in the Long Jump and High Jump in the M40 category at the World Police and Firemen’s Games at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. On the Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of August Pauric McKinney successfully defended his O-45 category title by winning again at the National Half Marathon Championships in Dublin.
There was disappointment for Letterkenny AC’s Mark English who failed to qualify from the first round heats of the 800m at the World Championships in Moscow finishing in fourth place. Also in Moscow Finn Valley’s Tori Pena missed out on qualification for the women’s pole vault final while Milford’s Brendan Boyce recorded a personal best time of 3:54:24 to finish in 25th position behind his coach Rob Heffernan who won the Gold Medal Walk in the 50k at the World Championships.
Milford man Ricky Simms’ the former Finn Valley AC member tasted further success in global athletics managing Mo Farrah to complete a dream double-double gold in Moscow. And another of Simms’s athletes Usain Bolt was a triple gold medal winner with firsts in the100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
Lifford AC athletes Isobel Breslin won gold and Kathleen Craig took bronze at the National Combined Events Championships in Tullamore. Breslin, from Ballindrait won the Master’s Women combined events while Craig was the winner of the Girls Youth Heptathlon.
Lifford AC came home with eight medals from the National Masters Championships in Tullamore. Natasha Adams won gold in the 1,500m and 3,000m V1. Isobel Breslin won gold in the 100m hurdles, silver in the high jump and bronze in both the Long Jump and Shot Putt. Meanwhile Anne Marie McGlynn, guesting for Tirconaill AC, won the 3000m in the Women National League Final in Tullamore.
Letterkenny man Peter McGlynn reached a remarkable milestone In Longford when he completed his 100th marathon. It was a stunning achievement as McGlynn had underwent a quadruple heart by-pass after completing his 67th marathon a number of years ago.
In the early days of August Chloe Magee was knocked out of the World Championships in Guangzhou in her opening round of the women’s singles. The Donegal woman was beaten 21-14 21-14 by Hsaio Ma Pei of Chinese Taipei. Chloe and her brother Sam were beaten by Dutch pair Jorrit De Ruiter and Samantha Barning in the mixed doubles.
Ciaran McDermott, from Doochary finished second in the prestigious London to Surrey 100-mile cycle race. He was one of some 25,000 cyclists who competed in one of the top bike events in the British Isles. In the middle of the month three young Errigal CC members won titles at the Ulster Youth Championships in Gweedore. Ciara Doogan retained her U-16 Road Race and Time Trial titles while in the U-14 categories of both events Amanda Gallagher was a winner. In the U-14 Boys section 13-year-old Conor Halvey triumphed.
And the Errigal Cycling Club’s youngsters went onto achieve more success this time at the national championships returning home with three titles. Ciara Doogan and Shauna McFadden won individual titles in the Irish National Road Race Championships and Criterium respectively while the U-13 team of P.J. Doogan, Conor Halvey and Michael McGlynn won gold in a team event.
In GAA Sean Paul Barrett’s Donegal U-16 side retained the Buncrana Cup with an easy 3-6 to 0-3 victory over Tyrone and near the end of August his club Milford won the Donegal Junior A Football Championship for the fourth time.
Declan Bonner’s Donegal U-17 team won the Jim McGuigan Cup in Maghera with a 2-10 to 1-6 victory over Tyrone. Donegal’s minor hurlers failed to make it to the final of the All-Ireland B Championship and just a week later the County’s U-16s also suffered the pain of defeat going down 4-18 to 2-8 to Meath in the semi-final in Clones.
After a lengthy break Letterkenny co-driver Rory Kennedy came back to help Garry Jennings to a superb Ulster Rally win. The victory increased Jennings’ lead in the Tarmac Championship. There were plenty of good news stories on the soccer front with Greencastle’s Roma McLaughlin scoring a hat-trick for the Republic of Ireland’s U-15 who hammered Bosnia and Herzegovina 12-1 in their opening UEFA Championship qualifying campaign in Russia. In the second game there was a 1-0 win over Turkey which ensured qualification for the next phase. In their final group game the Irish suffered a 1-0 defeat by Russia with McLaughlin playing the full game while her Greencastle club colleague Sarah Jane McDonald also started before being replaced in the second half.
Letterkenny woman Ciara Grant played in all three games for Raheny United in the UEFA Women’s Champions League in Belfast. Raheny lost the first two games before winning their final group match. The Finn Harps U-17 side won the Macron Galway Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over the Combined Counties Football League with the goal coming from Fanad Utd player Conor Matthewson.
Ramelton’s Kyle-Callan McFadden (Norwich City) and Letterkenny’s Ryan McConnell (Manchester Utd) both got game time with the Republic of Ireland U-19s in two soccer friendlies against Norway in Dublin which ended in defeat. Former Letterkenny Rovers player Dale Gorman now with Stevenage FC made his debut for the Northern Ireland U-19 side in their 1-1 draw with Scotland at Ayr while Seamus Coleman got a brief taste of captaining his country when he took the armband for the final minutes of the goalless friendly fixture against Wales in Cardiff.
Just three days later the Killybegs man got his Premiership season off to the best possible start helping to set up Everton’s first and scoring the second in a 2-2 away draw against Norwich City. On the same night Ramelton’s Barry McNamee was an unused sub in the Republic of Ireland opening U-21 4-1 EUFA qualifier away in the Faroe Islands.
Milford’s Darragh Black, Christopher Flanagan from Letterkenny and Swilly Rovers lad Ronan Curtis all featured for an Irish U-18 selection in two friendlies against the Ipswich Reserve and U-18s in East Anglia. Flanagan captained the Irish side in the first match, which the Ipswich Reserves won 3-0. Curtis scored the first and Black the third in a 3-3 draw with the U-18s.
Swilly Rovers retained their DPD USL First Division Cup title with a 5-3 penalty shout-out win after the final had ended up 1-1 at the end of the extra-time. At the beginning of August in triathlon Christine Russell and Orlaith Forgarty finished first and third respectively in the All-Ireland U-16 Triathlon Championships in Loughrea, Co. Galway. And on the Bank Holiday Monday Aidan Callaghan won the Northwest Triathlon Club’s Aquathon in the Creggan.
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