'I didn't grow up playing camogie to get boxed in'

June 10, 2024

Ireland's Ciara Mageean celebrates after qualifying for the World Athletics Championships 1500m final in Doha. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

Ciara Mageean credited her camogie background for her fantastic win in Rome on Sunday evening.

The Co. Down athlete was the toast of Ireland after running a tactically brilliant race to become European 1500m champion. Despite being boxed in by British pair of Jemma Reekie and Georgia Bell, she managed to find a gap down the home stretch to better her bronze and silver medals at previous European Championships.

"Words can’t even come close," Mageean told RTÉ afterwards.

"Everybody back home knows how long I have been doing this, how hard I have been trying. I’ve had so many times when I’ve come off races and not felt the way I am today.

"I went out on that track today super nervous, but I had a plan and a mission, that was to hear Amhrán na bhFiann. "When I was getting a bit boxed in, I thought 'Oh my God, I have all the legs left but nowhere to go'.

"But I didn’t grow up playing camogie to get boxed in! I want to thank everybody who has helped me get here today to win my first senior gold medal for Ireland.

"To be at the top of the podium and to hear our National Anthem and to show world athletics that the Irish are here. We are here to show where we belong."

Ciara hails from a well-known GAA family in the Down hurling stronghold of Portaferry. Along with her siblings, she wore the club colours, while her father Chris was part of the Down team that famously relegated reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny from Division 1 of the Allianz League in 1993.

Ciara's mother Catherine was also a talented camogie player in her youth.

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