Powerlifting, kickboxing, hockey, soccer, swimming and athletics dominated the Donegal sporting headlines in November.
Teams and individuals from the county achieved a number of super successes on the national stage. And there was a global winner to in Letterkenny’s Sammy Wasson, who was crowned World Powerlifting Champion at the finals in Glasgow.
The 43-year-old, who was competing in the Master 1 (38-44 years) in the 75kg class, produced a deadlift of 200 kilos to clinch the world title. That achievement will see the Letterkenny man among the nominees for the 38th Donegal Sports Star Awards which take place on Friday, January 29, in Letterkenny’s Mount Errigal Hotel.
Natalie McCarron once again demonstrated her class by winning her fourth professional world kickboxing title in Derry.
In Gaelic football, Glenswilly progressed to the AIB Ulster Club Championship final with two impressive victories. Michael Murphy’s penalty was the decisive score in the 1-10 to 0-10 quarter-final win over St Gall’s from Belfast - the 2010 All-Ireland winners - before Colin Kelly goaled twice in the 3-9 to 2-8 semi-final victory over Fermanagh’s Roslea Shamrocks.
Another Sports Star Award contender will be soccer ace Ciara Grant from Letterkenny after she scored a spectacular goal as she helped Raheny United to Umbro FAI Women’s Senior Cup final glory at the Aviva Stadium at the beginning of the month.
Played as a curtainraiser to Sligo Rovers’ triumph over Drogheda United the women’s decider was staged at the Aviva for the first time. Raheny eventually won 3-2 after extra-time against Castlebar Celtic.
Alexander Tinney, Ben Wallace and Luke Witherow were members of the Ulster U-16 hockey team that won the national inter-provincial competition. Witherow scored four times in the three games including two in the final against Leinster as Ulster retained their title with a big 6-1 victory.
November was arguably the best month of year in terms of success for swimming with the senior girls from Loreto Letterkenny winning the Senior Freestyle Relay at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin at the annual Inter Loreto Schools Swimming Gala. The team included Ellen Doherty, Emma Harvey, Niamh McHugh and Emma Vaughan.
Individually, Emma Harvey won silver in the Backstroke, Ellen Doherty bronze in the Breaststroke, Niamh McHugh silver in Freestyle and Emma Vaughan silver in the Intermediate Breaststroke.
The Junior Relay team of Emma Tinney, Sinead O’Kane, Cara Nulty and Eadaoinn Kelly came third and received bronze medals. Cara Nulty also took a bronze in the individual breaststroke.
At the Ulster Grammar Schools Swimming Championship Finals in Ballymena, St Eunan’s College fourth year student Leon Vaughan retained his Backstroke title with an impressive win in the final. There were also silver medals for Brian Diver, Jonathon Martin, Oliver Lee and Gavin Cox in the U-16 freestyle and Medley Relays.
Undoubtedly one of the athletic highlights of the month was the news that Mark English was named as track and field athlete of the year at the national athletics awards at the Crown Plaza in Dublin. And Lifford AC were named Development Club of the Year at the same awards ceremony.
On the international circuit in Antwerp in Belgium, Lifford AC’s Anne-Marie McGlynn finished a magnificent seventh at the Lotto Cross Cup Cross Country Championships. She also finished fourth in the women’s section at the National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Dublin putting her on the Irish team for the European Championships in Belgrade along with Maria McCambridge (fifth) and Ruairi Finnegan, who was second in the U-20s at the same national competition.
And on the same day Finn Valley’s Aaron McGlynn won gold in the U-14 section, the Donegal women’s team of McGlynn, Teresa McGloin, Catriona Devine, Catherine Dooher (all Finn Valley) and Fionnuala Diver (Letterkenny AC) finished second just behind Dublin and ahead of Cork.
At the annual Cross-Country international in Cardiff, Kieran Carlin (Finn Valley) and Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) were members of the Irish Masters team who came second while Mary Martin (Finn Valley) was part of the Irish team who took silver in her section.
Back at home the talented Loreto Convent Letterkenny athlete Arlene Crossan won a national multi-event title at the Irish Schools Finals in Athlone. Sarah Collins helped her Providence Rhode Island College to a couple of big US successes in November while she finished third at the American Regional Cross-County Championships in the Bronx, New York.
A former overall Donegal Sports Star Award winner Stranorlar’s Gary Murray won the Donegal Senior Cross-Country Championships in Carndonagh in his first competitive outing in over three years. Finn Valley won both the male and female team sections with silver going to both Inishowen teams. Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin took the women’s title.
On the second Sunday of the month, Letterkenny AC took a team bronze at the Ulster Novice Cross-County Championships at Gransha in Derry. Also in Gransha the Rosses AC ladies team took silver and the Finn Valley women took bronze. There was also bronze for the Inishowen U-11 Girls.
Drimarone man Shaun Gallagher (Finn Valley AC) was appointed by the European Athletics Board to be an international technical official for the European Olympic Youth Trial in Azerbaijan next June. In badminton Chloe Magee was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Bitburger Grand Prix Gold in Germany by the number one seed from Thailand.
In the ring on the first day of November Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Mongan claimed his first men’s title when he took the 54kg Ulster Intermediate title at the Docker’s Club in Belfast. At the same championship Paul Kelly from Twin Towns won his Light Heavyweight final. There was defeat for both Carndonagh’s Liam Callaghan and Brett McGinty of S. Johnston (Oakleaf BC Derry) at the European Junior Championships in Russia.
On the bike, Errigal Cycling Club’s PJ Doogan from Gortahork was invited to join the FBD 2020 Talent Team for 2014. It is a high performance squad that was set up with the aim of preparing the best Irish youth cyclists to be genuine medal contenders in the 2020 Olympic Games.
Errigal CC also had four girls Ciara Doogan, Shauna McFadden and Amy and Oral Harkin in Holland for an Irish Cycling organised training camp with the 2020 Talent Team. The main winners at the Donegal Open Darts Finals in the Radisson Hotel were Milford’s John Flood, Anne-Marie Wilson and Michael Naulty Jnr in their respective men’s, women’s and junior categories.
There was disappointment In the Ulster Intermediate Football Championship at Celtic Park as Naomh Muire were knocked out by Derry champions Forelgen.
McCumhaills won the Donegal U-13 Division 1 Final overcoming Killybegs while Fanad Gaels U-13s triumphed in the County Division 2 Championship Final against Naomh Columba.
Termon were promoted to Division 1 after overcoming Glenfin in a promotion play-off in Ballybofey. Urris moved up to Division 3 after defeating Burt in a promotion play-off. Kilcar won the Donegal U-21 A County title with a 1-10 to 1-8 win over Naomh Conaill in Killybegs.
The St Eunan’s U-18 girls won the County B Final against Naomh Muire in Gaoth Dobhair. And the Milford ladies completed the county double by clinching the league title with an 8-11 to 3-2 over Aodh Ruadh at Moyleview Park. Six Donegal girls were named on the Ulster School All-Star team including Milford pair Amber Barrett and Shannon McGroddy along with Loreto Letterkenny duo Rose Boyle and Marie O’Reilly; Karen Ward (St. Columba’s Stranorlar) and Sarah Jane McDonald (Moville Community School).
Glenswilly qualified for the Ulster Senior Football Club Final for the first time thanks to a 3-9 to 2-8 win over Roslea (Fermanagh) in Omagh with Colin Kelly twice finding the back of the net while Michael Murphy was the other goalscorer. And Murphy’s impressive end of season form saw the Bomany man pick up the Ulster GAA Writers Monthly Award for his magnificent weekend in October with the Irish International Rules team and his club Glenswilly.
In Enniskillen it was heartbreak for Milford who were well beaten by Tyrone’s Killeeshil in the Ulster Junior semi-final and Letterkenny IT lost out to the University of Limerick in the Higher Education Division 2 league final in Ballyhaunis. The Termon U16s won their third trophy of the year in Convoy when they defeated Four Masters in the Division 2 County final by 2-10 to 1-5
The Moville Minor Ladies side booked are their place in the Ulster A Championship final after a big win in Belfast against Antrim champions St Paul’s. On the last day of the month Aodh Ruadh defeated Burt to take the Donegal U-21 B Football Championship Final after a replay.
Dungloe’s U-16 made history by winning the club’s first ever U-16 boys county league title overcoming St. Eunan’s in the final. The Donegal Vocational Schools won their fourth successive Ulster title against Cavan at Brewster Park, Enniskillen. Joe McKelvey’s side won by a two goal margin 3-13 to 1-13 with sub Darach O’Connor the hero scoring 2-2 and the Buncrana lad also set up Donegal’s third goal.
Donegal hurlers Sean McVeigh (St. Eunan’s), Lee Henderson (McCumhaills), Christopher McDermott (Burt) and Danny Cullen (Setanta) picked up their Nicky Rackard All-Star awards at banquet in Croke Park on November 1st.
In rallying National Rally Champions Declan and Brian Boyle were officially presented with the silverware at the annual awards ceremony in Athlone. Seven Donegal girls were picked for an Ulster Rugby U18 Development squad including six from Finn Valley Danielle Preston, Ellen Muldoon, Karen Ward, Ruth Shovlin, Shannon Heapes and Amy McElhcar along with Donegal Town’s Enya O’Callaghan.
Seamus Coleman played his part in a winning start for the new Republic of Ireland management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane who overcame Latvia 3-0 at the Aviva Stadium and Ramelton man Barry McNamee (Derry City) spent a week on trial at English League 1 side Brentford.
Just before the end of the month and after much speculation about other names it was Fanad Utd’s Ollie Horgan who was appointed as the manager of Finn Harps. Cappry Rovers lad Sean McBride was a member of the Republic of Ireland U-15 side who lost 3-0 to Holland in an international friendly in Doorwerth.
In Triathlon a number of Letterkenny 24/7 members picked awards at the annual presentation function in the Aviva Stadium. Among those recognized were the 2012 Donegal Triathlon Sports Star winner Aidan Callaghan who was sixth overall in the country and first in his A.G. in the National Aquathon Championships and second in the National Sprint Championships in Athlone; Margaret Kelly who took gold in the National Olympic Championships in Dublin, bronze in the Sprint Championships and bronze in her A.G. in the National Series and John Cannon a gold medal winner in his A.G. in the National Aquathon Championships in early July.
Donegal Community Games winners at the National Volunteer and Area Awards function in Derry were Catherine Boyce (Adult Volunteer Award); Mary Crossan (Best Area Award) and Patrick McConigley, Milford (Youth Award).
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