OISIN Orr was named as the 2020 Donegal Sports Star of the Year.
The Rathmullan man enjoyed 39 winners in 2020 and took his first Grade 1 win when he won the Comer Group International Irish St Leger in September at The Curragh.
On the Dermot Weld-trained Search For A Song, Orr enjoyed the biggest win of his career.
A standout win, it saw Orr win the top prize tonight at the first ever virtual Donegal Sports Star Awards function, hosted by committee PRO Declan Kerr.
“It’s great for me and for my family,” Orr said, speaking from Dubai.
“After the first day Covid was stopped, we got running again and I had luck to get on plenty of nice horses. It was great to get my first Group 1 winner in 2020.”
Orr’s finest win has been the September success on Search For A Song.
He said: “There was pressure on. The gillie had won the race the year before. It was my first chance in a Group 1. I knew she had a good chance. Everything went pretty smooth and worked out. She won well at the end.”
Orr has struck a successful partnership with legendary trainer Weld having cut his teeth first with Joanna Morgan and then Eddie Lynam.
Previously, Orr was the 2019 Champion Apprentice jockey and he also won the Professional Sport Achievement award tonight.
Rising Lifford-Strabane athletics star Adrienne Gallen was the Youth Award winner,
In September, Gallen won silver at the Irish Junior Championships, throwing 48.58m in the hammer.
At the National Senior Championships in August, Gallen – just 15 at the time – set a new Donegal hammer record when she reached out to 48.12m, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
Clonmany B Tug Of War were big winners with three awards heading their way.
In early 2020, they won gold and silver medals at the World Indoor Tug Of War Championships, which were held at the Aura Centre in Letterkenny.
Clonmany B overcame fellow Irish side Mountain View to take gold in the 600kgs open club division.
Clonmany B were sliver medalists at 560kgs on day one when they were edged out by Country Club.
Clonmany B manager Kevin McLaughlin won the coach/manager award and a memorable night for the club was completed as Clonmany Tug Of War stalwart Danny McGonigle was given the appreciation award having been instrumental in bringing the World Indoor Tug Of War Championships to Donegal.
Legendary former Finn Harps manager Patsy McGowan was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
McGowan led Harps to their first – and, to date, only – FAI Senior Cup success in 1974. McGowan had been instrumental in taking Harps into senior football while Harps were in European competition four times in seven seasons.
“It is a great honour,” McGowan said. “I spent 50 years waiting on this moment to arrive.
“People thought we were off our head, but we had work done…There is still senior football here today in Donegal.”
McGowan paid tribute to current Harps manager Ollie Horgan and his assistant Paul Hegarty for their work in maintaining Finn Harps’ place in the Premier Division.
The Ballybofey man dedicated the award to the grassroots soccer people of Donegal. He said: “They are the people who made it possible.”
Gaeil Fhánada’s Siobhán Coyle was the Brendan McDaid Memorial Special Achievement Award winner.
In 2020, she became the first woman to referee a men’s county final in Donegal when she took charge of the Intermediate final between Aodh Ruadh and Cloughaneely. In December, she was the referee for the LGFA All-Ireland Junior final between Wicklow and Fermanagh at Parnell Park while she was also in the middle for the LGFA Ulster senior ladies final.
Donegal senior hurling manager Mickey McCann was given a special recognition award while the International Achievement gong went to Kilmacrennan motorcyclist Rhys Irwin, who had a stellar year.
St Bernadette’s Special School and St Eunan’s College won the schools awards after national success in early 2020.
The Donegal Sports Star Awards are sponsored by Donegal County Council, whose Cathaoirleach, Cllr Rena Donaghey, and Chief Executive, John McLaughlin, featured as part of the night.
2020 DONEGAL SPORTS STAR AWARD WINNERS
2020 Donegal Sports Star of the Year – Oisin Orr (Rathmullan)
Youth – Adrienne Gallen (Lifford-Strabane AC)
Professional Sport Achievement – Oisin Orr (Rathmullan)
Team Award – Clonmany B Tug O’War Team
Primary School – St Bernadette’s Special School (Letterkenny)
Secondary School Award – St Eunan’s College (Letterkenny)
Hall of Fame Award – Patsy McGowan (Finn Harps)
Coach/Manager Award – Kevin McLaughlin (Clonmany B Tug Of War)
Brendan McDaid Memorial Special Achievement Award – Siobhán Coyle (Gaeil Fhánada)
International Achievement – Rhys Irwin (Kilmacrennan)
Special Recognition Award – Mickey McCann (Donegal senior hurlers)
Appreciation – Danny McGonigle (Clonmany Tug Of War)