The month of July produced a series of outstanding achievements with many of those successful teams and individuals expected to feature among the nominees for the Donegal Sports Star Awards at the end of the year.
Among the highlights was the historic double achieved by the GAA Senior and Minor teams managed by Jim McGuinness and Declan Bonner.
Others that did the county proud during July were Chloe and Sam Magee who won the badminton bronze medals at the Canadian Open while there was victory for Jason Quigley in his first professional boxing bout, and Bunrana boy Jack Duffy had a fine finish at the US Kids World Golf Championships.
July was very good for athletics as Mark English, Karl Griffin, Kelly McGroary, and the Kelly brothers John and James were among gold medalists at the national finals.
Sunday, July 20th will go down in the annals of Donegal GAA history as both the Seniors and Minors won the Ulster Championship titles on the same day for the first time ever. Jim McGuinness’s Seniors regained the provincial crown defeating reigning champions to take the title for the third time in four years. Declan Bonner’s Minors won their first Ulster title in 8 years at Clones.
July was a massive month for Tirconaill AC’s Karl Griffin as the UCD student won the Irish 800m Junior Final in Cork and afterwards was selected to be part of the 9 person Irish team to take part in the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. A former Donegal Sports Star ‘Best Secondary Schoolboy’ Award winner, Griffin made a fine start in Oregon reaching the semi-finals of the 800m by finishing second in his heat in a time of 1:50:69. However, Karl could only manage fourth in the semi-finals in a time of 1:49:97, ending his hopes of a medal at the games.
At the beginning of the month Mark English set a new Donegal record of 45:56 for the 400m at an international meeting on the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. English followed that up by winning the Irish 800m title at the National Championships in Santry in a time of 1:49.
It was a winning start for the reigning ‘Overall Donegal Sports Star Award’ Jason Quigley in his first professional bout as the Finn Valley BC man stopped Howard Reece from Florida after just 81 seconds of a scheduled four-round middleweight bout at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Sam and Chloe Magee won Mixed Doubles Bronze Medals after exiting at the semi-final stage of the Canada Badminton Grand Prix. The Magees were then defeated at the quarter-final stage of the US Open by the number one seeds from Thailand. However, Chloe Magee and her brothers Sam and Joshua went onto help Ireland to a 4-1 victory over Canada at the Irish National Training Centre. Chloe won her singles contest and also partnered Sam to a mixed doubles success. Sam and Joshua took victory in their men’s doubles game.
13-year-old Jack Duffy, a member of Buncrana Golf CLub, finished tied 21st out of a field of 148 competitors in the US Kids World Championship, Pinehurst, US.
Trentagh jockey Martin Harley rode winners in three successive races at a meeting in Leicester aboard Speedy Move, Sleep Walk, and Daisy Boy.
The Kelly brothers, James and John from St. Johnston, were in fine form in July starting with the All-Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore where James threw 51.67m for Gold and a new championship record in the U-15 Boys Shot Putt. He also had a throw of 37.72m to win the Javelin while he was also third in the discus. John Kelly was also a Bronze Medalist in the Senior Championship at Santry with a 15.27m throw in the Shot Putt. The Finn Valley AC brothers both set new Championship Best Performances in the Shot Putt at the Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore. John won the U-19 title with a throw of 16.95m while James took Gold at U-15 with 17.88m throw.
Tirconaill AC’s U-19 Girls 4x100m relay time set a new record in winning the Championship of Ireland in Tullamore. The team included Kate McGowan, Kelly McGroary, Eva McMullan, and Emma Brady. Kate McGowan and Kelly McGroary finished first and second respectively in the Irish 400m Junior Final in Cork. Kelly McGroary also took Gold in the U-19 Girls 400m Hurdles clocking 65.92 at the Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore.
There were Silver medals for the Finn Valley U-13 Girls in Tullamore and there was Bronze for the Boys U16s at the same championships. The Letterkenny AC’s Boys U-13 won a Bronze medal in Tullamore. Lifford AC’s Conor McGinley finished second in the 800m Boys U-15 race at an international meeting on the Mary Peters Track in Belfast.
There was triple success for the McGuigan brothers and Finn Valley at the Irish U-20/23 Championships in Cork. Dempsey won the U-23 Hammer, Fellan took the U-20 Hammer, and Dalton was a Bronze medalist in the U-20 Steeplechase.
Finn Valley’s Ciaran Dolan won the U-23 Long Jump while club mates James Speight took Gold in the U-23 Steeplechase. Blathnaid Patton won Brozne in the Triple Jump. Mexican Juan Luis Barrios became the first athlete to break the four minute mark for the mile in Donegal when he ran 3:59:33 at an international athletics meeting at the Aura’s Danny McDaid Track.
Shannon Craig won Silver in the U-16 Girls High Jump at the All-Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore. The Lifford AC member cleared 1.55m on her first attempt to take second place. At the same championships, Finn Valley claimed another Gold through Sommer Lecky while Dylan Kearns, Ian Brennan, and Lecky were Silver medal winners. There were Bronze medals for Niamh McGranaghan and Cate Smyth.
Sommer Lecky won the Girls U-15 Long Jump with a leap of 5.48m. She also took Silver in the Jump clearing the 1.60m mark. Dylan Kearns was second in the U-16 Boys Javelin with a throw of 45.92m. There was Silver in the Triple Jump for Ian Brennan after clearing 12.94m. Naomi McGranaghan cleared the 30 metre mark to take Bronze in the U-16 Girls Javelin. Cate Smyth was a Bronze medal winner in the U-13 Girls 60m Hurdles.
Also at the championships in Tullamore there was success for Tirconaill AC as Caolan O’Callaghan finished third in the U-18 Boys Triple Jump, Diarmaid O’Donnell took Bronze in the Boys U-12 Shot Putt, and Katie Hoad was second in the Girls U-18 Pole Vault.
In the middle of the month, Lifford AC’s Anne-Marie McGlynn took Bronze in the 5k at the National Championships in Santry in a time of 16:22:88 while there was Silver for Finn Valley’s Dempsey McGuigan in the Hammer with a best throw of 64.47m. His club mate Tori Penna also took Silver in the High Jump with a best of 4.20m. Tirconaill AC’s Geraldine Stewart took Bronze in the Shot Putt also with a throw of 13.10m.
At the Juvenile Track and Field Championships on Tullamore, Aaron McGlynn won the U-15 Boys 800m final in a time of 1:59:12. There were also medals for Lifford AC’s Brendan O’Donnell (Gold in the U-16 Boys Hammer), Tom Mullen (Silver in the U-15 Boys 200m Hurdles), Alan McGinley (Silver in the U-16 Boys 250m Hurdles), and Niall Quinn (Bronze in U-14 Boys 800m).
There was great disappointment for Labhaoise Clarke when the Carndonagh BC fighter had to withdraw from the Irish squad for the European Women’s Youth and Junior Championships in Italy after picking up an injury. On the last Friday of the month, Brett McGinty from St. Johnston won his 6th national boxing title by overcoming Kevin Kehoe on the 70kgs Final at the Senior Cadets Championships at the National Stadium.
On the bike there was a great weekend for the Errigal Cycling Club as three of their young members won Gold medals at the National Youth Track Championships.
Ciara Doogan won 3 Gold, Conor Halvey took two Golds and a Silver in the U-14 age group, and there was also a Gold and two Silvers for Amanda Gallagher in the U-12 category. At the end of July Halvey retained his Ulster Road Race Championship title along with winning the Time Trial in Coalisland.
In Equestrian, Ramelton’s Ross Trearty qualified for the European Pony Championship and the Dublin Horse Show on Ballylinn Champ.
In Gaelic Games, Robert Emmett's defeated Letterkenny Gaels 5-06 to 3-09 to win the County U-14 Division 2 Championship Final at O’Donnell Park, and in the Div. 1 Final at the same venue McCumhaill’s took the honours with a 7-07 to 2-07 victory over Naomh Conaill.
The multi-talented Donegal Finesse Gymnastics CLub represented Ireland at the Festival Del Sole Italy while Fahan’s Richie Fearon won the Round Ireland Yacht Race title as a crew members of the winning ‘Tanit’ boat in Wicklow.
Former Bonagee Utd. and St. Eunan’s College player Ryan Rainey signed his first professional contract with Wolverhampton Wanderers. The deal will keep the youngster at Molineaux for two more years.
Barry McNamee scored his first European goals as Derry City recorded a 4-0 first round leg win over Welsh side Aberystwyth Town at the Brandywell, a week later McNamee was on the mark again in the second leg in Wales as the Candystripes won 5-0. However, Derry were well beaten in the next round going down 6-1 on aggregate to Shakhytor Soligorsk of Belarus.
Finn Harps drew 3 times in July as Ollie Horgan’s hopes of edging closer to the promotion play-off place faded badly. There were two 0-0 results, both at home against Cobh Ramblers and Galway Utd. followed by a 1-1 draw against promotion chasers Shelbourne at Tolka Park after taking the lead through Sean McCarron.
A 43rd minute Kyle Black goal was enough for Swilly Rovers to defeat pre-match favourites Letterkenny Rovers to retain the Knockalla Caravans Cup Final at Bonagee. Greencastle’s Roma McLaughin was a member of the Republic of Ireland I-19 squad who had a 1-0 victory over Spain and a 2-1 victory over England to top Group B in the UEFA Championship Finals in Oslo. The Irish qualified for the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Sweden in Norway. 16-year-old McLaughlin, who was the youngest player at the tournament, was an unused sub in all the games. But there was to be disappointment for the Greencastle girl as the Irish team were beaten 4-0 by the Netherlands in the semi-final after a brilliant run in the tournament.
The Donegal U-13 Girls side won the Foyle Cup with a 2-0 victory over Inishowen thanks to goals from Catherine Grier and Amy Boyle Carr. Four other Donegal sides also picked up titles at the Foyle Cup at Boys U-11, U-12, and U-13 along with the GreencastleU-13 Girls.
At the end of the month, Kyle-Callan McFadden made his first team debut for Norwich City in a pre-season friendly victory over OGC Nice at Carrow Road. The 19 year-old Ramelton man, who is a former Donegal Sports Star Soccer Award winner, came on for the last 11-minutes of the game.
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