Breaking: Brendan Boyce is Donegal Sports Star of the Year 2021
Brendan Boyce has been named Donegal Sports Star of the Year 2021.
The Finn Valley AC race walker was crowned the overall winner at the annual awards show, which took place as a virtual event on Friday evening.
At the Olympics in August, Boyce put in a superb performance to secure a tenth place finish in the men’s 50km race walk.
Boyce finished in 3:53:40, moving up two places over the final 5 kilometers of a grueling and grueling event to finish in the top ten.
His favorite 50 km walk was removed from the Olympic program and replaced by the shorter distance of 35 km.
However, Boyce recently qualified for the 2022 World Championships in Athletics by finishing second in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds at the National Senior 35k in Raheny, his first outing at the new distance.
The Milford man, a three-time Olympian, finished second in the National Senior 35k at St Anne’s Park, Raheny.
In May, Boyce finished ninth in the men’s 50km at the European Race Walking Cup in Podebrady, Czech Republic.
“To be given the green light again is amazing,” Boyce said.
Boyce previously won the overall prize in 2019 when he finished sixth at the World Championships in Dubai.
Indeed, the overall award has now been won five times in the last ten years by an athlete with Mark English (2014 and 2015) and Sommer Lecky (2018) all winning the top gong.
Lifford-Strabane AC star Adrienne Gallen has won the youth award for the second year running. She is the first person to win the youth award in consecutive years.
At the Life Health Youth Athletics Irish National Championships in Tullamore, Gallen recorded a championship best performance to win the women’s hammer throw in the 60.90 meter throw as she won a shot put solver at the same championships .
At the Donegal Athletics Championships, Gallen hit 63.20, a lifetime best with a 3kg hammer and European U18 header throw for the year.
In September, Gallen put in a stunning performance to set a new Tailteann Games record in Santry.
Gallen threw a monster 62.80m – eclipsing Swinford’s Michaela Walsh’s previous championship record of 60.66m, set in 2015.
Gallen’s superb throw was also recognized with St Columba’s College student from Stranorlar being named the female athlete of the competition.
At the end of September, Gallen capped off a magnificent season with silver in the women’s hammer event at SIAB Schools’ International in Derby, while she also won bronze at the Franconville U18 Meet in France.
Jockey Dylan Browne-McMonagle won a sports recognition award.
The Letterkenny man was crowned apprentice champion at Naas after having 48 winners on the Irish Flat this year. Browne-McMonagle spent time with legendary jockey AP McCoy as a young teenager and rides regularly for top trainer Joseph O’Brien.
Dylan Browne McMonagle
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, there was still a lot of sporting success in 2021 and it is important that we recognize all the work done by the volunteer committees to ensure that the competitions are completed,” said Grace Boyle, president of the Donegal Sports Star Awards.
“Sport, whether it is active participation or just spectatorship, is extremely important for the physical and mental health of people of all ages.
“While it is understandably disappointing that we will not be able to hold a live event for the second year in a row, I am still delighted as Chairman that we are able to host this virtual event where sports stars across the county of 2021 will be honoured. ”
Ms Boyle paid tribute to those who had died in 2021, including former Donegal Sports Star Award winners Brid Carr (table tennis 1979 and 1980) and John Joe McAteer (appreciation 2004).
Ms Boyle highlighted the association with exclusive sponsors Donegal County Council.
Donegal County Council’s Cathaoirleach, Jack Murray, said: “I am very pleased that Donegal County Council has become the exclusive sponsor. This is an extremely important award and something we are very happy to support. Sports stars have brought us great joy when it was needed most.
Donegal County Council Chief Executive John McLaughlin said: “We are honored to sponsor the Donegal Sports Star Awards and delighted to be associated with them. We’ve been through a lot with Covid. We have Brexit and the mica crisis we are working on and we hope 2022 will be brighter. ‘
An Olympic Recognition Award was given to those from Donegal who were at the Tokyo Olympics.
Swimmer Mona McSharry – who reached the 100m breaststroke final – and athletes Brendan Boyce, Eilish Flanagan and Mark English were honored as competitors. Awards were also presented to Letterkenny AC Irish Athletics Operations Manager Teresa McDaid, Badminton Team Leader Daniel Magee, Triathlon Ireland Coach Michael Black and Dr Sharon Madigan, Head of Performance Nutrition at SportsIreland.
McDaid was also named the winner of the coach/manager award.
The Donegal Senior Women’s Cross Country Team who won the Inter-County title at the Senior National Cross Country Championships received the team award. They were led by Finn Valley AC’s Roisin Flanagan, who won an individual bronze medal and she was followed at home by Ann-Marie McGlynn, Nakita Burke and Christine Russell, all of Letterkenny AC. Claire McGuigan of Lifford-Strabane AC, Jennifer Elvin of Finn Valley AC and Letterkenny AC duo Natasha Adams and Niamh Kelly also made the squad.
The Excellence in Professional Sports Award went to Jason Quigley. The Ballybofey man won the WBO NABO middleweight title in May when he beat Shane Mosley Jr in Las Vegas.
The win catapulted Quigley to the biggest night of his career when he challenged Demetrius Andrade for the WBO World Middleweight title in November. Although stopped in the second round by Andrade, who was making his fifth defense of the belt, Quigley drew huge Irish support in Manchester, New Hampshire and won over an army of new fans with an exciting fight week.
Georgie Kelly has won the Brendan McDaid Memorial Special Achievement Award after winning the 2021 PFAI Player of the Year award. Kelly scored 21 goals in the League of Ireland Premier Division for the Bohemians and signed this week for Rotherham.
GAA club St Eunan swept the boards in 2021 and O’Donnell Park club won the club award. St Eunan’s won the SFC and SHC titles with the pitchers, making it a League and Championship double. The senior ladies won the intermediate championship while the senior B and under-21 crowns were all adorned with black and amber ribbons.
Dungloe-born James Boyle won the para-athlete award. Boyle played for Ireland in the European Amputee Finals in Poland. Boyle scored a hat-trick in an 8-0 win over Belgium and also scored against Germany and Italy.
Cranford AC stalwart Eamon Giles was inducted into the Hall of Fame, GAA Women’s All-Star Geraldine McLaughlin received the Special Recognition Award after winning her first All-Star, while Sadie Duffy, D ‘Illies Golden Gloves, received an appreciation award.
Dromore National School won the primary school award noting that Killygordon School has a policy that a number of pupils with autism can compete against other children in the same sports. A range of sports coaches across a varying amount of codes visit the school regularly while there are firm plans for the future.
Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Béal Átha Móir, An Clocháin won the Secondary Schools Award after rolling out several inventive initiatives in 2021.
Donegal Sports Star Award 2021
Olympic Appreciation Awards – Brendan Boyce, Eilish Flanagan, Mark English, Mona McSharry, Teresa McDaid, Daniel Magee, Michael Black, Dr Sharon Madigan
Professional Sports Achievement – Jason Quigley (Golden Boy Promotions)
Team Awards – Donegal Senior Women’s Cross Country Team
Club Awards – St Eunan GAA Club
Primary School Awards – Dromore National School, Killygordon
Secondary Awards – Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Béal Átha Móir, An Clocháin
Coach/Manager Award – Teresa McDaid (Letterkenny AC)
Para Athlete Award – James Boyle, Dungloe
International Achievement Award – Brendan Boyce (Finn Valley AC)
Hall of Fame Award – Eamon Giles (Cranford AC)
Brendan McDaid Memorial Achievement Award – Georgie Kelly, Tooban
Special Recognition Award – Geraldine McLaughlin (Termon and Donegal)
Sports Recognition – Dylan Browne-McMonagle, Letterkenny
Appreciation Award – Sadie Duffy (Ilies Golden Gloves)
Youth Award – Adrienne Gallen (Lifford-Strabane AC)