Brendan Boyce launches Donegal Sports Star Awards

Rob Heffernan Brendan Boyce. Photo Geraldine Diver.

The 2020 Donegal Sports Star Awards has been formally launched by the reigning overall winner Brendan Boyce. The Milford man said it was a great honour for him personally as he followed in the footsteps of the likes of Jim Sheridan, Martin Carney and Myles Gallagher who have been among the recent special guests to be invited to perform the launch. And Boyce created his own little bit of history as he was the first guest to launch the brand new virtual awards event that takes place on Friday the 29th of January. It’s the first time in the 45-year history that the Donegal Sports Star Awards will not host a formal function and has had to move on-line due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was delighted to be asked and it’s a great honour for me to launch the 2020 Donegal Sports Star Awards. It was a great feeling to be named the overall winner last year and I want to wish all those in contention for awards all the very best. It really is a privilege to be in the same company of people like Martin Carney and Jim Sheridan who have launched the Donegal Sports Star Awards in previous years” Boyce said.

Donegal Sports Star Awards Chairperson Grace Boyle said her committee was delighted to have the reigning overall winner as the special guest to formally launch the 2020 Awards. “Brendan has formally launched the awards and he will have that distinction of being the first guest to do it for the new virtual show which we had to do this year because of Covid-19. He’s also the first overall winner to do the launch for us. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone and hopefully now 2021 can bring us back to some form of normality. But, it is so important that we adhere to all the HSE and Government guidelines as the coronavirus poses a massive risk and is putting our healthcare system under serious strain. One again I would like to thank very much Donegal County Council for being the exclusive sponsors of the Sports Star Awards. I would like to thank Seamus Neely, the outgoing Chief Executive for being such a strong support to us and we look forward very much to working now with his successor John McLaughlin” Ms Boyle said.

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Rena Donaghey said she wanted to acknowledge the outstanding work and the extraordinary lengths that the Donegal Sports Star Awards committee had gone to, in preparation for the 45th Annual Awards. “Covid-19 has presented many challenges throughout 2020, unimaginable this time last year. I commend the committee who have confirmed the new format for the 2020 Awards. Due to the continued challenges, there won’t be a formal presentation function. Instead, a virtual awards show will take place.

“I believe the Committee made the right decision in line with the present situation with Covid-19. Annually around 600 people would attend the awards function. Protecting the health of our people is the number one priority, therefore, sacrifices have to be made. I want to thank all the sporting organisations in Donegal, who worked so hard to adhere to the restrictions and still ensured that almost all the competitions in the county were completed. I am delighted that Donegal County Council is again the main sponsor of the prestigious event and the new Virtual Awards will give us all something special to look forward to at the end of January” Cllr. Rena Donaghey said.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 the 2020 Donegal Sports Star Awards will feature a reduced number of categories but there was still an amazing amount of success in the County and that will certainly be reflected in the calibre of winners on the 29th of January. Grace Boyle says despite the lockdowns there has still been plenty of competitions completed and decision to proceed with the awards has been warmly welcomed and the sporting public is looking forward to the new virtual format. “We will have a reduced number of categories in line with the amount of sport that took place last year. There has been a lot of success for women, men and teams so it’s a case now of finalising the winners in the next couple of weeks. It’s been really great to continue with the awards and recognise those who did achieve in 2020. Finally I would just like to thank my committee who have adapted and done great work in a different way with almost all our meetings being held on-line due to the restrictions. So, we’re just inviting the people of the County and the Diaspora to tune into the Donegal Sports Star Awards Facebook Page on Friday 29th January from 7.30 when all the winners will be announced.