first_imgDONEGAL AND DANIEL GO HEAD TO HEADFinally we’re within touching distance of it. Sunday May 17th – a date we’ve been counting down to and scouring the usual outlets for tickets. Got yours yet?DanielMe neither. But here’s a dead cert. O’Donnell to start in the front line and you can take that as gospel. And here’s another cert. Donegal will – I repeat – will easily take care of Tyrone in Sunday’s Ulster SFC Preliminary Round clash and so what if you’re not at MacCumhaill Park to watch them roll over their North West neighbours. Particularly when you could just as well be on Dungloe’s Main Street watching the game on the big screen and with the added bonus of having ‘wee Daniel’ to perform for you.Nice touch that man. Not just the idea to raise funds for Dungloe Community Hospital with a gala concert or the fact that it is being done as a thank you for the care the hospital and its staff took of his late mother, Julie, last year in the closing days and hours of her life. No Dan the Man has decided to put the big screen in place at the Cope car park so fans – including himself – can watch events unfold from Ballybofey.An impressive line-up both there and in the Rosses should make for an entertajnjng afternoon and the fans will be winners at each venue. Except, of course, those from the O’Neill County.I know Rory Gallagher has been dismissing his team’s comfortable win over Tyrone in the Allianz League a couple of short months ago insisting that it would have little relevance to the Championship. He’s right there – league form and results count for nothing when it comes down to what is basically the only competition in town. Mickey Harte has lost a handful of players from his squad but even before that his team had lost something. And I don’t believe they’re going to find it in time for this year’s Ulster Championship even if Sean Cavanagh is back in the frame.Not that victory on Sunday will have the rest of the G.A.A. world talking up Donegal again as potential champions. But it will still represent a solid start as Gallagher attempts to emulate his predecessor’s golden reign.Meanwhile, back in Dungloe, Daniel to triumph and the pretty little girls from Omagh and their men folk to head back across the border only half happy with the day’s events.PUT IT THERE, JOHN!Not too often you get to be in the presence of a record breaking event in the sporting arena but such was the case for local athletics followers, this one included, who saw – and heard! – Finn Valley A.C.’s John Kelly throw a remarkable 18.61 metres in the 6kg shot putt in Lifford on Sunday. The popular young St. Johnston man not alone set a new Donegal record but also a National Junior record while making the qualifying standard mark for the European Junior Athletics Championships which are scheduled to take place in Sweden in July.You could hear his reaction in Strabane (seemingly they were even pricking their ears up in Sion Mills) as he celebrated the achievement with fellow competitors, coaches and family and friends, pumping his fists in the air and wearing a smile that broke clean through the afternoon clouds.Being one of those heathens who tend to concentrate soley on what’s happening on the track itself and too often ignoring events elsewhere, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the shot putt arena where young Kelly was going about his business with many a verbal accompaniment. And when he managed the decisive throw it was time for all of us to take note and applaud the performance.Warm embraces followed along with many a handshake and Bernie O’Callaghan climbing on the winners podium at the Lifford A.C. venue to get a photograph taken with the hero of the hour (to be more accurate the hero of many other hours, both past and future, by the sound of it). It was great to be present for it and to acclaim the younger Kelly, James, who also set a new Donegal and Ulster record in the under-16 putt with a throw of 17.81 metres in the 4kg category.And on an afternoon of some quality athletics between the showers, Letterkenny girl, Arlene Crossan, wearing the colours of Finn Valley, also achieved a European Youth standard with a leap of 5.80 metres in the long jump pit.A memorable day for Patsy McGonagle’s club and not forgetting the performances of many of the other young athletes on show.GOLDEN SHOTA handful of days after Mickey Funston netted the undisputed goal of the season (step aside, Stephanie Roche, there’s a new contender for the Puskas Award), the world of football was rocked to its very foundations this week when ‘Soccer Republic’ on R.T.E. actually mentioned Finn Harps and the club’s impressive start to the campaign. And even showed footage of the Bonagee Bomber’s score. As regular viewers will know, the First Division of the League of Ireland generally remains completely off limits to presenter and panellists on the weekly round-up programme formerly known as M.N.S.But here they were following up the showing of the Harps midfielder’s astonishing strike inside a spitful of seconds by spending  a minute or so reflecting on the table toppers, mainly courtesy of veteran pundit and former L.O.I. manager, Damian Richardson. “I think Finn Harps would be a great addition to the Premier League…I take my hat off to them, I’d love to see them back up,” Richardson maintained.Still top of the table after that narrow 3-2 win over Waterford United – the first goals Harps have conceded at home this season – and watched by none other than the local lion, Jason Quigley, who is continuing his climb up the international boxing rankings.Meanwhile, those who got along to Finn Park on Friday night will have noticed a host of Harps fans wearing ‘Roddy Collins’ masks. The bold Collins had, of course, the previous week indicated that he considered that Harps should be one of the clubs expelled from the league as part of a complete revamp.Down like a lead balloon in these parts – well, some of these parts anyway – and hence the ‘tribute’ to the Dubliner by home fans. And then, lo and behold, comes the announcement that Roddy has been appointed the new manager of Waterford United, last weekend’s visitors to Ballybofey. Two things: First signing: Roddy Collins Jnr.; secondly, both father and son to last until the end of the season if even that.SPECIAL DELIVERIESThe Special Olympics hasn’t had too much of a mention in these parts but it certainly deserves one this week.No less than three basketball teams from Donegal headed to the Antrim Forum at the weekend for the Ulster League Finals and all three returned with gold medals. And not just that but five of the overall squad were successful in the Skills Athletics category at the competition.“It was a brilliant performance all round from the two mens teams and the ladies team. They were just superb and we couldn’t be prouder of them,” coach, Chrissy Slevin from Convoy, tells me.The Men’s ‘A’ team claimed the Division One title; the Men’s ‘B’ side were victors in Division Three; and the Ladies team took the honours in Division One.Take a bow each team – you did indeed do your county proud. And here are the names who achieved those Ulster titles….Male ‘A’ team members: Daniel Cannon, Joe O’Hanlon, Michael Barrett, Michael Leavy, Michael O’Donnell, Christopher O’Donnell, Declan Storey, Stephen Dowds, and Oliver Boyle.Male ‘B’ team: Shane O’Neill, Shaun McCosker, Leon McDaid, Ethan Loghrey, Mark Duffy, Julian McIntyre, Dara Friel, Eugene McGeever, and Graeme Ballantine.Ladies team: Mary Strain, Siobhan McCay, Meliosa McDevitt, Treasa Barrett, Nicola McIntyre, Martina McGrath, Denise Kerr, Vicki Gill, and Marion Gallagher.Skills athletes: Anne O’Brien, Ronald Laird, Paul McLaughlin, John McGinty, and Janice Wylie.CAR TROUBLEThere’s a well-known Finn Harps and West Ham United fan (who shall remain nameless, at least until the end of this article) who was attending a work related event in a Letterkenny hotel and asked for a lift to his home in the afternoon (let’s just say it’s in the Bonagee/Lurgybrack area) after it was over. When he got there, being the eagle eyed sort he is, he noticed the car wasn’t where it was supposed to be and assumed his good lady wife had left it somewhere.“So where’s the car?,” he asks her when he gets through the door. You had it, he was told. And so he had – having driven it to his work place at the Congress Resource Centre on the Pearse Road earlier that day.Anyway, said red-faced Harper and Hammer was forced to stroll all the way into town to collect it.Fortunately he’s a keen walker is our Brian…STEVIE TEE (SHIRT)Apparently Steven Gerrard wasn’t quite taken with the reaction of the Chelsea supporters at Stamford Bridge despite many of them giving him an ovation when he left the pitch before the end of Sunday’s 1-1 draw. The Liverpool legend hadn’t forgotten the abuse he had taken – both during that game and in many previous outings against the Blues – after rejecting transfer advances from the London club on a couple of occasions.That may have been the reason young Alan Doherty was running around this week wearing a tee-shirt bearing an image of ‘Pool’s midfielder and the logo: ‘Slipped or fell at work? If so please contact Stevie G…’And on the back of the same tee-shirt a mock advertisement promoting the new Stevie G football boot coloured yellow and shaped like a banana skin!BARCA ORR HARPSNot quite the artistic first leg performance from Barcelona last night but still enough to see off the challenge of the German giants even on the back of that 3-2 defeat. Loved the one on Facebook from Letterkenny man, Martin Orr, after last week’s opening leg: “Ok Messi, you’re a great player but you’ll never play for Harps!”.MESSI WILL NEVER PLAY FOR HARPS, AND FUNSTON HAS WON THE PUSKAS AWARD – IT’S WALSHY ON WEDNESDAY was last modified: May 13th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:columnFeaturesnewsPaddy WalshyWednesdaylast_img

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