For the second time in three years there was international rugby success for Donegal’s three Irish internationals.
By Declan Kerr (Donegal Sports Star PRO)
Fahan’s Nora Stapleton and Larissa Muldoon from the Twin Towns who were members of the Irish Women’s senior side that won the RBS Six Nations competition and the pair were joined for this most recent triumph by Moville’s Katie Norris (all three pictured above after Ireland’s success).
The highlight of the Donegal Sport Star Awards March review was another extraordinary performance by Letterkenny man Mark English (pictured above), who won an 800 metre silver medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague. The UCD medical student produced a magnificent final lap to finish second in a top class field.
There was also the fantastic news that Milford man Brendan Boyce had made the qualifying time for next year’s Olympics in Brazil with a new personal best (3:48:55) in a 50k Race Walk in Slovakia. Donegal teams and individuals enjoyed stunning successes in the March sporting review with rugby, bowling and badminton at the top of the pile but there is no doubting that the biggest list of achievements came in athletics.
Bowling in the county got a major boost after Ballylennon’s John Quinn won the Irish Singles title defeating the Redeemer’s Kevin Conroy 14-7 in the final. Quinn, from Convoy, was also victorious in the Triples Final along with Eddie Curran and David Crawford.
March was a very good month for the Royal & Prior Secondary School in Raphoe at the annual finals in Gormanstown with national titles for the Junior Girls and Senior Boys and runner-up medals for the Junior Boys. And for the first time Chloe and Sam Magee broke into the top 25 World Badminton Rankings.
Athletics had a great month and it started on the first day of March when Finn Valley’s John Kelly won the English Youth Championship title in Sheffield with a throw of 17.44.
The following weekend Sean McFadden (pictured above by Paul Doherty) was first across the line in the mammoth 24 endurance challenge ‘The Race’. The Letterkenny man completed the gruelling 250k event in a time of 15 hours and eight minutes.
There was plenty of gold for Donegal at the National Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone with firsts for Cranford AC’s Oisin Kelly (U-12 600m) and Aoife Giles (U-15 Shot Putt); Finn Valley’s James Kelly (Shot Putt), Aaron McGlynn (800m) both with championship records and a former Donegal Sports Star Award winner Arlene Crossan (Long Jump). At the North West Basketball U-14 and U-16 Finals in Ballyshannon there were victories for the Ballyshannon U-16 Girls; Letterkenny Blaze U-14 Boys and the Ballyshannon U-14 Girls.
The Overall 2013 Donegal Sports Star Award winner Jason Quigley continued his unbeaten start to his professional boxing career with two very easy first and second round wins in Los Angeles. On the last Sunday in March Rory Gallagher’s Donegal seniors assured themselves of Division 1 football again next season with a 1-13 to 0-6 win over Tyrone at McCumhaill Park.
It was the day that St. Michael’s Colm Anthony McFadden set a new Donegal senior appearance record playing for the 160th time for his county.
The Donegal senior ladies side went through the Division 2 league campaign unbeaten to secure a place in the semi-finals of the competition.
In the middle of March a late Ryan McHugh goal secured the Donegal U21s a place in the Ulster Championship semi-final with Maxi Curran’s side defeating Cavan 1-7 to 0-9 at McCumhaill Park.
In martial arts Meenbanad native Joseph Duffy made a great start to his UFC career defeating American Jake Lindsey in Dallas in the lightweight division with an early TKO while St. Johnston lad Damien Duddy (pictured above with his father Cathal) won an Irish Junior Kickboxing title.
It was another good month Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanaghan winning both the West Cork Rally in their Ford Focus WRC and also the Midlands Rally.
Finn Harps made a super start to their League of Ireland First Division campaign with three wins and a draw in March that put Ollie Horgan’s men top of the table at the end of the month. Meanwhile Finn Harps legend Brendan Bradley was named ‘Greatest ever Player’ to play in the League of Ireland in a poll carried out by the Irish Examiner newspaper.
In the middle of March the Inishowen Junior League booked their place in the semi-finals of the Oscar Traynor Cup with a 1-0 win over the United Churches League. Crana College student Lee McCarron was in the goals for the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys who had a 3-2 win over Northern Ireland in the Centenary Shield.
Letterkenny Rovers secured their place in the FAI Youth semi-finals with a super 1-0 extra-time away win over Wexford Youths.
And at the end of the month two former Donegal Sports Star Award winners Shay Given and Seamus Coleman were members of the Republic of Ireland team that drew 1-1 with Poland at the Aviva Stadium in a European Championship qualifier while Carndonagh’s Harry Doherty was in goal for the Republic of Ireland U19 team who drew 2-2 with Slovakia in their final UEFA Championship qualifier in Mannheim.
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