Ciara Mageean won a scintillating silver tonight in Munich. It was her fastest run of the season and possibly the defining race of her gilded career.
After the race, an elated Mageean spoke with David Gillick about how proud she was with her performance.
"I feel like I very rarely get emotional in athletics, but after the year I've had, I was going around there seeing all the tri-colours and ... I'm feeling a bit emotional. It's absolutely fantastic."
'I was going around, seeing all the tricolours and I'm feeling bit emotional' - @ciaramageean reacts after her silver medal in Munich, paying tribute to the Irish young guns, gives a shout-out to Portaferry and the late Jerry Kiernan #rtesport
📺 https://t.co/W98hM5ljMT pic.twitter.com/VuJlAh8dSQ
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 19, 2022
Mageean also mentioned the inspiration she's drawn from Team Ireland at the European Athletic Championships, especially the next generation of Irish athletics stars.
"For me being one of the old ladies on the team, I said I have to lead by example and show them that we can get major medals in the major fields."
Ciara Mageean thanked coach Helen Clitheroe, who she started working with when her former coach Steve Vernon took a new role.
Mageean also remembered her former coach Jerry Kiernan before the interview ended.
"We all know the late great Jerry Kiernan. He'll have the best seat in the house tonight. To my first coach Eamon Christie and everyone that's helped along the way."
It was a poignant moment for anyone who's followed the ups and downs of Ciara Mageean's career. When Kiernan passed in 2021, Mageean's tribute was one of the most powerful.
There will be a few people who walk through your life and leave lasting footprints in your heart. Jerry Kiernan was one of those people. I feel truly blessed and privileged to have been able to call him my coach and friend.
Thank you Jerry, for everything. pic.twitter.com/FaxJPd27v0
— Ciara Mageean (@ciaramageean) January 21, 2021
Ciara Mageean and Jerry Kiernan
As RTÉ's Greg Allen noted during the medal ceremony, Kiernan began to work with Ciara Mageean in 2013 after the Portaferry runner rehabbed from a foot surgery that could have ended her career.
“The thing with me is: if Ciara failed I would blame myself. That makes me a failure, and that would be a difficult thing to live with. I’d be questioning absolutely everything and I’m at the stage in life where I don’t like to be questioning myself too much.”
Tonight was final proof that Kiernan was not a failure. He was speaking before Mageean won bronze in the 2016 European Championships. Since then, the Portaferry athlete's career has been filled with joy and heartbreak, but there was always the sense of unfinished business. Mageean put in a savage run to win silver at the Commonwealth Games this month and it was a declaration of intent.
It was hard not to think of Kiernan tonight during Mageean's bolshy second and third lap of her 1500 metres, and how proud he would have been when she put it right up to Muir, especially on that bell lap, when the Scot unleashed her afterburners, and Mageean did not wilt. The two were neck-and-neck up until the last 100 metres. Mageean ran full of courage and self-confidence. The best race of her life, and the performance and medal her dogged career deserved.
Ciara Mageean was emotional but also beaming with pride after the race.
"I know that everyone in Portaferry is going to be screaming at their screen. Everyone in the whole length and breadth of Ireland will," she said.
Her old coach, too, was somewhere screaming her on.