Former Donegal Person of the Year Hugh Gallagher passes away

The death has been announced of former Donegal person of the year Hugh Gallagher.

The 92 year-old from Carrigart was the winner of more than one hundred and fifty All Ireland track and field athletic gold medals.

Donegal County Council held a civic reception for the Mr Gallagher in 2015.

Born in Creevy, Carrigart in 1924, Hugh competed in sport from a young age taking part in athletics and cycling throughout the county and all over Ulster. He moved to Scotland and England for a period to work and had to curtail his sporting activities as a result.

30 years ago Hugh was bitten by the sports bug once again and began competing in veterans’ athletics, now called the Masters athletic championships.

His medal haul started when he won the Donegal 56lb hammer title. That same year Hugh entered his first Masters competition, winning three silver medals.

He 166 All Ireland gold medals in athletics and Irish weight throwing championships. He has also won 26 world gold, two silver and two bronze; 23 European gold medals, 25 British gold medals, 26 Scottish and Welsh gold, Donegal and Ulster medals

Hugh has competed for Ireland in 16 different countries and carried the Irish flag on several occasions; taken part in nine World Masters athletic championships in England, South Africa, Australia, Spain, Puerto Rico, Hungary, Italy, France and Ireland as well as representing the country in the European Masters athletic championships in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Poland and again in Ireland.

Hugh holds or has held world records at different age groups and events - from 4kg to 56lb in weights, long jump, 5000m track walk and the 60m sprint. He broke the British all comers record in the weight throw, hammer throw, long jump and triple jump. Hugh also competed for Ireland in an International 3000m walk in the Phoenix Park where he was the only winner for Ireland.

Throughout his career Hugh competed in numerous indoor and outdoor national and international events such as the Scottish Indoor championships in the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow; the British Indoor Championship in the International indoor arena in Cardiff, the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham and secured honours in a variety of disciplines including athletes, the shot putt, discus, javelin, hammer, heavy weight throw, long jump and the weight pentathlon, the Goulding hammer, the Grenade throw, triathlon and the 56lb sling.

Athletics Ireland officials made a presentation to Hugh marking the fact he was the first Irish person to win track and field medals at over 90 years of age.

One of his most coveted honours was when he was selected as the Donegal Person of the year in 1996.

The Gallagher family are probably one of the most renowned sporting family’s in Donegal and indeed of all Ireland. They won the best athletic family in Donegal at the millennium Donegal Sports Star Awards.