Emma Ryan: Our sportswomen did us proud in 2015

It’s been a year of highs and lows for many of our female athletes, but as always they have done their county proud throughout the year.

Four of our sportswomen really caught my eye this year and they are as follows:

Chloe Magee – Badminton

Chloe Magee
Chloe Magee is undoubtedly one of Donegal’s most successful sportswomen. She has competed in two Olympic Games, Beijing (2008) and London (2012) and in July this year claimed a bronze medal at The European Games in Baku. The talented badminton player competed in the mixed doubles competition with her brother Sam Magee.

Following this win, Chloe travelled to Russia with Sam and won the mixed doubles tournament at the White Nights International Challenge. Chloe is also hoping to compete for Ireland in Rio next year.

Tori Pena – Pole Vaulter

This Finn Valley athlete is looking forward to Rio next year as she qualified for the Olympics in Rottach-Egern, Germany earlier this year. The pole vaulter previously represented Ireland at the 2012 London Olympics.

Tori also won gold at The Glohealth National Senior Track and Field championships and added a fifth national title to her collection. This win earned her a place on the Irish team for the World Athletics Championship in Beijing.

Geraldine McLaughlin – GAA

Anyone looking at Donegal’s top sporting women would find it hard to leave out Donegal’s Geraldine Mc Laughlin. A vital member of the Ulster title winning Donegal team, Geraldine McLaughlin has had an impressive 2015.

As usual, the forward has been supplying the county with multiple scores throughout the season. In their Ulster final victory over Monaghan, McLaughlin scored an impressive 2-7 of Donegal’s 2-12 tally.

She plays her club football for Termon who won their fourth consecutive Donegal Senior Ladies title this year. In the final against Glenfin, the sharpshooter scored 2-4 to help Termon claim the title.

McLaughlin was named Player of the Year by the Ulster Writers and was also nominated for an All Star due to her performance this year.


Zoe Green – Soccer

Lagan Harps' Zoe Green in action for Ireland

Lagan Harps’ Zoe Green in action for Ireland

This lady is one to watch for the future. Zoe Green travelled with the Irish U17 women’s team to Izmir, Turkey for the UEFA European Championship qualifiers. Ireland were unbeaten in the tournament and topped their group to qualified for the elite round of the UEFA European Championships.

Zoe had a successful tournament playing left back for Dave Bell’s team and played the full time in all three games. The defender is from Rathmullan and currently plays club football for Lagan Harps FC.

Team of the Year

There were a number of ladies teams who thrived this year, but for the best of the lot was the Donegal Under 21 ladies. In June, they were crowned All Ireland Champions. The Donegal U21’s defeated Longford 4-12 to 2-07 in Markievicz Park, Sligo to win the Aisling Mc Ginn ‘B’ Championship title.

Donegal’s Amber Barrett received player of the match after scoring an impressive 2-09 of Donegal’s 4-12. This Donegal team made history for being the first ever U21 Ladies team and then proceeded to bring an All Ireland Title to Donegal. The team was managed by Davy McLaughlin and captained by Emer Gallagher.

After an eventful 2015 and with 2016 just around the corner, I am looking forward to seeing what unfolds for all of Donegal’s sportswomen next year.

Geraldine McLaughlin is back to her devastating best and is gunning for Ulster SFC glory once more.

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