Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award: Ciara Mageean
Even before she lined up for the 1500m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels last Friday Ciara Mageean had had a season to remember, the Portaferry athlete proving to be as good as her word having earlier declared that she was in the shape of her life.
By the time Brussels came around she had already won silver medals in the 1500m in both the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and European Championships in Munich, more than enough for her to earn our sportswoman of the month award for August, adding to a collection that includes a 1500m bronze medal from the 2016 European Championships.
It was two days into September, though, when she produced the race of her life.
“I felt like I was running on clouds,” she said of her time of 3:56.63 in Brussels which not only saw her finally get the better of Laura Muir, who’d denied her gold in both the Commonwealth and European races, break the four minute barrier for the first time, but also saw her smash Sonia O’Sullivan’s 27-year-old national record (3:58.85).
After running on clouds she was, she said, “on cloud nine”.
O’Sullivan’s presence in the stadium for the race made the occasion all the more special for Mageean, the pair meeting up after, Mageean having long targeted O’Sullivan’s 1500m mark.
O’Sullivan saluted her for not being “afraid to lose”, Mageean having gone all out with a blistering final lap, which she started in fifth.
“There’s a couple of occasions in your life where you manage to be in that zone and everything just comes together and you feel amazing. For me, that was today,” she said.
It was back in 2009, when she was excelling at world junior level, that Mageean picked up her first monthly award, so much of her career since then blighted by injury problems. But there was never any doubt about her pedigree nor potential, all she needed was an injury-free spell to realise it. We saw plenty of glimpses of it before this summer, but Birmingham, Munich and Brussels provided the richest of reminders of how just how fine an athlete she is.
Previous Monthly Winner (the awards run from December 2021 to November 2022, inclusive):
June: Rhasidat Adeleke (Athletics). It’s been a terrific year for the 19-year-old who has broken five Irish records since January. In June she became the first Irish woman to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association sprint title when she was part of the triumphant University of Texas team in the 4x100m.
Media release courtesy of Mary Hannigan Irish TImes