Multiple winner Danny McDaid with Chairperson of the awards Grace Boyle
Final preparations are being put in place for 2020 Donegal Sports Star Awards which will be held virtually for the first time in the 45-year history of the awards tonight.
Some high profile past winners have been wishing the Donegal Sports Star Awards every success with the event which starts at 7.30pm and will be streamed live on the awards Facebook page.
Danny McDaid, Peter O’Donnell and Tom Conaghan, who have all tasted success at the awards in the past and are looking forward to this evening’s show which will not be in a packed function room in the Mount Errigal Hotel. Have sent their best wishes.
Like everyone McDaid, O’Donnell and Conaghan are disappointed that the biggest sporting social event in the county is not taking place as normal due to the pandemic but all three have commended the Donegal Sports Star Awards committee in adapting to to present the 2020 awards virtually for the first time.
Chairperson Grace Boyle said the committee made the big decision to go ahead with the awards after very careful consideration.
“While it was a restricted year in terms of sport there were still a lot of competitions played in the county and at national level so there were plenty of winners and good things happening. We knew it would have to be an online ceremony. So that was totally new to us but the work started in October and with the support of our sponsors Donegal County Council we have got to the stage now that the 2020 awards will go out on our Facebook Page this evening.
“Our committee has had to adapt to different ways of doing nearly everything from holding meetings remotely to organising an awards virtually. It’s been four months of really good work by the committee and the last few weeks have really been intensive. AVC who have been with us a long time doing the video presentations in Mount Errigal came in again for this show and Shane McGillion’s expertise and advice has been invaluable in making this happen this evening.”
Multiple winner Danny McDaid has been one of the biggest supporters of the awards since 1976 and while he is disappointed that the opportunity to attend the hotel function for a 42nd time won’t happen, the Letterkenny AC man is still looking forward to watching the event online.
“It’s always a great night at the Sports Star Awards so it’s disappointing but we have to stay safe with Covid-19. I have been at 42 of the 45 award functions so it is very special to me and the Sports Star Awards are a great way of recognising people’s achievements. People like me were getting recognition in other ways but the awards were and are more important to the smaller sports who don’t generally get big attention. Great credit goes to the people who started it and kept it going when times were tough. People like Brendan McDaid, Harry Blaney, Hugh Strain and Denis Martin had to fight a lot of battles to keep the awards in place. It’s been great to see the crowds that are coming to the Donegal Sports Star Awards these last years and I just hope that we can get to the big function next year,” he said
Tom Conaghan won the Appreciation Award in 1982 after managing Donegal to their first ever All-Ireland title when the U21s defeated Laois in Carrick-on-Shannon. He also guided his hometown club Four Masters to the Donegal Senior Football Championship success.
“I have great memories of the Donegal Sports Star Awards and I certainly will miss not being there to see presentations in person this time. But it’s great credit to the committee who had the desire to make it happen online this time. Hopefully, it’s a once off because the buzz and excitement in the Mount Errigal is something I want to see back again next January.
“The people on the committee deserve every good wish for this evening. They do a mountain of work and it’s all voluntary. It’s a great thing that Donegal County Council are the sponsors. It’s a great advertisement for them to be associated with promoting positive mental and physical health. Personally, it was a great honour for me to be recognised in 1982 after the wins with the Donegal U21s and Four Masters,” he said.
Leading Donegal Boxing Board official Peter O’Donnell added his good wishes to the committee ahead of the 45th Donegal Sports Star Awards this evening.
“This is new to all of us with the awards online but with Covid the committee had no other option. Like so many I will miss meeting friends from different sports at the big function in the Mount Errigal. Most of those people I would only see once a year so it’s a big pity that we can’t all be there. But, health is the number one priority and I’m just delighted that we have the online awards to look forward to after the effect that Covid had on sport last year.
There are great people on the Donegal Sports Star Awards committee and it's because of them that success is recognised here every year. I can tell you per head of population Donegal is a top county when it comes to winners in sport. I want to congratulate Patsy McGowan on his Hall of Fame. No better man because he did so much for Finn Harps and football in Donegal,” he said.
The Donegal Sports Star Awards will be streamed on their Facebook page from 7.30pm this evening.
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