Athletics, motorsport, soccer, powerlifting, motocycling, kayaking, cycling and horse racing all feature in the Donegal Sports Star Awards September review. And those successes will now doubt be among the nominations being submitted for this year’s awards which open on the 22nd of October.
It was a very good month for athletics an impressive international achievements and there were also a couple of excellent results on the home stage.
In the middle of September Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty won a bronze medal in the M40 3,000m Steeplechase at the World Masters Track & Field Championships in Malaga in a time of 9.28.30. Also in Malaga Finn Valley AC’s Noreen Bonner and Gloria Donaghey, representing Ireland, won silver medals in the Over-55 Half-Marathon.
At the same championships Finn Valley AC’s Brian O’Domhnaill was sixth in the 20k Race Walk. Also abroad Milford’s AC’s Marty Lynch recorded a fantastic time of 2.36.13 in the Berlin Marathon. That was over 10 minutes better than his time for the Dublin Marathon last October. At home Letterkenny Athletic Club’s Karol Duggan took a bronze medal in his first Half Marathon in Belfast clocking 1.11.10.
Meanwhile, Letterkenny AC’s Anne-Marie McGlynn won the women’s Waterside Half Marathon in Derry in a time of 1.17.01 which was a new course record.
It was a September to remember for Letterkenny co-driver Rory Kennedy and his partner Garry Jennings who had two big successes in France winning the 41st Rallye Bethunois and in the Rallye Charlemagnein in their Impreza WRC three weeks apart. In martial arts Edyta Piechowicz won two gold medals in the squat and deadlift for the Finn Valley Viking Fit Club at the European Single Lift Championships in Dublin. There was also success for her club colleague Caroline Dolan who won silver in the deadlift. The Three Rivers Shotokan Club from Lifford had a good weekend at the CIKA Ireland International Open in Tallaght taking home five gold, six silver and a bronze medal.
St. Johnston man Ronan Curtis continued his impressive football form by scoring the Republic of Ireland equaliser in an away U21 international qualifier against Kosovo. As a result the 22-year-old was called up to the Irish senior squad for the friendly in Poland. Milford woman Amber Barrett helped Peamount Utd to a 2-1 victory over favourites Wexford Youths in the Continental Tyres League Cup Final played at Ferrycarrig Park. It was a good month for Finn Harps as their seniors secured second place for the promotion play-offs and the U17 team made history by being first underage team from the club to win a national title thanks to a 1-0 win over Cork City in Ballybofey courtesy of a late penalty from skipper Darragh Ellison. Harps U19 player Michael Gallagher came on as a sub for the Republic of Ireland in an international friendly against Wales at the City Calling Stadium in Longford while Harps U15s Fionnan Coyle and Daniel Gildea were second subs for the Republic of Ireland U16 side who had a 4-2 win over Bulgaria in an international friendly played in Sofia.
It was a busy month for Kilmacrennan motorcyclists Caolán and Rhys Irwin and Richard Kerr. The Irwins were both in action at Oulton Park in the UK. Caolan continued his good form on the British Superbike Championship finishing in a solid eighth position. Younger brother Rhys also put in a solid weekend in the Moto 3 British Superbikes Championship with a fifth place finish. Undoubtedly the September highlight for Caolán was winning his first ever Dunlop Masters Supersport Championship race at Mondello Park and he also picked up his fourth runner up finish of the season.
Richard Kerr had a good outing in the Dickies Supersport Championships at Silverstone with two 13th place finishes.
Then the Kilmacrennan teenager had a 12th place finish on a difficult weekend at Oulton Park, Cheshire for the 10th round of the British Superbike Championship (BSB).
On the last weekend of the month Kerr was in action at the world famous Assen circuit In Holland for the penultimate round of the BSB. On a difficult weekend Kerr had to settle for 25th and 15th places in his two races.
On the last Saturday of the month here was a gold medal for Bruckless kayaker and Donegal Canoe Club member Edward Broekaart at the Liffey Descent in Dublin. Edward’s success came in the B category Class K1. On the bike Letterkenny man Gerard Callaghan finished fourth in the Irish Ultra Cycle Challenge. It as another very successful month for Letterkenny teenage jockey Dylan Browne-McMonagle who saddled two more winners at the Glenbeigh meeting in Kerry to put the Letterkenny teenager on a total of 73 for the season. Then Browne McMonagle travelled to Ballylongford in Co Kerry and and with only four mounts on the bumper 9-race card he managed to boot home a treble and make the long journey very worthwhile bringing his tally to 75 for the season. On the last Sunday of September, Dylan just missed out on making history at a horserace meeting in Athena Limerick. The talented jockey had two firsts but ended up one short of the record of 78 wins set by Emmet McNamara over ten years ago. Unfortunately the 2018 season is now over so Dylan cannot now break that record. Staying with horseracing and Trentagh jockey Martin Harley’s fine season continued as he rode 7/1 shot Politicise to victory in the Racegoers Club 50th Anniversary EBF Novice Stakeswas back at Newbury.
There was good news for Letterkenny Blaze player Shannon Cunningham was included in the Under-16 women’s basketball squad for the new season which starts with a tournament in the Belarus city of Minsk in December.
Illies Golden Gloves fighter Cathal Browne won the Ulster Heavyweight Boxing Final at Belfast’s Docklands Club on a 4-1 judges decision against Cavan’s Thomas Maughan.
Young St. Johnston boxer Brett McGinty was named in an Irish boxing team for an international tournament in Belarus next month. McGinty, a member of Oakleaf ABC in Derry. On the last Friday of the month Dunfanaghy ABC’s Bernie McDonagh made his Ireland boxing debut against a German selection in a Schoolboy and Youth international at the National Stadium in Dublin. However, it ended in disappointment as McDonagh lost out to his German opponent Denis Bril 4-1 in the Schoolboys international. Ireland defeated Germany 9-5.
In GAA, Donegal’s outstanding young footballer Eoghan Ban Gallagher was named on the Sunday Game Team of the Year. And the accolades didn’t stop there for the Killybegs clubman as he joined Ryan McHugh and Michael Murphy on the 2018 Irish News Ulster All-Star team. Gallagher, McHugh and Murphy were also all nominated for the 2018 All-Star team. Gweedore and Bundoran won the respective Division 1 and 2 league titles. There was great news for ladies football and Yvonne Bonner who was awarded a Rookie Contract to play Australian Rules Football with the Greater Western Sydney Giants for the 2019 season. McMonagle was in Australis when her club Glenfin made it back-to-back Donegal Senior Football championship titles with a 4-7 to 3-7 win over Moville at the O’Donnell Park. However, the star forward did return just the day before the semi-final of the Ulster Football Championship. Bonner and Katie Herron both scored 2-4 as the Glenfin marched into the last four thanks to a big 5-12 to 0-11 victory over Cavan side Lurgan at Parc Taobhoige. On the last Sunday of September Glenswilly, Gweedore, Naomh Conaill and McCumhaills secured their places in the semi-finals of the Donegal Senior Football Championship.
In the middle of September Letterkenny won the Donegal Senior Golf Championship overcoming Rosapenna in a dramatic finish at Barnhill.
In hockey it was a good month for the Raphoe Senior Ladies who made it back-to-back wins in the Ulster Cup thanks to a 2-0 success over Portadown and then finished top of their group in the Ulster Cup after a 5-1 win over Castle. On Saturday 1st September Burt won the Donegal Senior Hurling Championship Final by 3-14 to 1-14 against Setanta at the O’Donnell Park. Two Letterkenny lads Harry Worth and Conor McMenamin along with Carndonagh’s Stephen Kelly were members of the Ulster U19 rugby squad that a 33-17 win over Connacht.
In soccer Letterkenny’s Dale Gorman was a second half sub for the Northern Ireland U21s who had a shock and historic 2-1 Euro Qualifier victory over Spain in Albacete
Finn Harps hope of winning the League of Ireland First Division ended at Belfield as the 1-1 draw for their opponents UCD secure the title for the Students. Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps continued their fantastic league form after a big 7-1 win over Cabinteely in the final game of the regulation season in Ballybofey. Harps had already secured second place in the First Division but the Cabinteely win extended the club’s unbeaten run out to 10 games thanks to goals from Paddy McCourt, Mikey Place with two, Jesse Devers. Aidan Friel, Nathan Boyle and Jacob Borg.
In the middle of the month Aidy Delap and Shane McNamee, who just recently signed their first professional contracts, got their senior careers of a terrific start after coming on as substitutes during Derry City’s 3-1 EA League Cup Final win over Cobh Ramblers at the Brandywell. Delap from Ray, Rathmullan came on as a 75th minute sub. McNamee was an injury-time sub after Cobh missed a late penalty. After a frustrating first season Ciara McGarvey’s equaliser gave the Donegal Women’s U17 side their first point in the National League in a 1-1 draw with Athlone Town at Lissywoolen. Cockhill Celtic players Peter Doherty and Jimmy Bradley were in the starting 11 for a Republic of Ireland Regions Cup side that drew 1-1 with English outfit North Riding in their final UEFA Regions qualifying match in Romania.
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