29 Jun 2022

Donegal-rooted Owen Coyle helps Donegal League toast 50 years

Coyle, now the manager of Queen's Park, was in Donegal on Friday night as the special guest of the Donegal Junior League

Donegal-rooted Owen Coyle helps Donegal League toast 50 years

Kilmacrennan Celtic, the Premier Division champions, with Owen Coyle, John Joe McCafferty and Fr Denis McGettigan. Photo: Thomas Gallagher

Former Republic of Ireland international Owen Coyle, whose roots were planted in west Donegal, was the special guest on Friday night as the Donegal League held its 50th anniversary presentation.

The various team and individual winners from the 2021/22 season were presented with their prizes at the function held in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny.

“I always have a vested interest in Donegal,” said Coyle, a nephew of John Joe McCafferty, the Donegal League Chairman.

“I am delighted to be here. I spent a lot of time here in Donegal as a kid and love coming over.”

Coyle was recently appointed as manager of Scottish Championship club Queen’s Park.

The Paisley-born Coyle recalled having to choose between Scotland and Ireland and scoring after just 90 seconds in his Irish under-21 debut - against Scotland at Easter Road.

“I was very blessed and very fortunate to have a career in football,” he said. “I could have signed for Dundee United at 13, but I went to Dumbarton. Hat was a good move. I was 5’4” until I was 18. If I had gone to Dundee United I’d have been released at 16, but at Dumbarton I was allowed to just potter away.

“It’s one of the toughest decisions to make as manager. People think it might be leaving out a top player, but it’s actually decided whether to give a guy of 16 a professional contract or not.”

Nigel Ferry, the Donegal League secretary, acted as the Master of Ceremonies.

Mr Ferry praised those people who had worked tirelessly in the Donegal League since its formation, including the former long-serving secretary Dessie Kelly, who was among the audience.

County Councillors Donal Coyle and Gerry McMonagle were present as was Fr Denis McGettigan, the former parish priest in Raphoe and a football aficionado.

Mr Ferry paid tribute to the League’s loyal sponsors, who have aided in the success over the 50 years.

Six lifetime achievement awards were presented, including one to Gweedore Celtic’s ace goalscorer Tomás Diver, who recently scored his 302nd goal, Copany Rovers’ long-serving defender Thomas Given and Eamon Cannon, who has won a clean sweep of honours in a distinguished career in the League.

Kilmacrennan Celtic’s Gerard McGranaghan - who led the Lurgymen to a dramatic Premier Division play-off win - was named as Manager of the Year while Bonagee United’s Duncan Patterson took the Premier Division Player of the Year gong.

2021/22 Donegal League Award Winners

Manager of the Year - Gerard McGranaghan (Kilmacrennan Celtic)

Fair Play Award - St Catherine’s FC

Premier Division

Player of the Year - Duncan Patterson (Bonagee United)

Top Goalscorer - Lee McMonagle (Bonagee United)

Division One

Player of the Year - Edward O’Reilly (Fanad United)

Top Goalscorer - Ryan Cunningham (St Catherine’s)

Division Two

Player of the Year - Ronan Curran (Letterkenny Rovers)

Top Goalscorer - Jordan Nugent (Whitestrand United)

Saturday Division One

Player of the Year - Tommy McLaughlin (Oldtown Celtic)

Top Goalscorer - Patrick Rafferty (Glencar Celtic)

Saturday Division Two

Player of the Year - Glenn Harron (Copany Rovers)

Top Goalscorer - Gareth Temple (Drumoghill FC)

Lifetime Achievement Awards - Louis Bradley, Pat McGlinchey, Simon O’Donnell (Gweedore United), Tomás Diver (Gweedore Celtic), Thomas Given (Copany Rovers), Eamon Cannon (Bonagee United).

Brian McCormick Premier Division

Winners - Kilmacrennan Celtic

Runners-up - Bonagee United

Temple Domestic Appliances Division One

Winners - Fanad United

Runners-up - St Catherine’s

Donegal Physiotheraphy and Performance Centre Division Two

Winners - Letterkenny Rovers

Runners-up - Letterbarrow Celtic

Glencar Inn Saturday Division One

Winners - Oldtown Celtic

Runners-up - Glencar Celtic

Old Orchard Saturday Division Two

Winners - Copany Rovers

Runners-up - Dunlewey Celtic

Brian McCormick Cup

Winners - Bonagee United

Runners-up - Kildrum Tigers

Brian McCormick Cup Area Shield Winners - Keadue Rovers, Bonagee United, Kildrum Tigers, St Catherine’s

Voodoo Venue Cup

Winners - Strand Rovers

Runners-up - Oldtown Celtic

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