Ciara Mageean secures first major title at European Championships: A gold medal triumph


Ciara Mageean - 2022 08 19 European Championships 2022 – Women's 1500 Metres by Sandro Halank–026 - CC BY-SA

In a historic moment at the European Championships in Rome, Ciara Mageean, a 32-year-old Irish athlete, captured her first major title by winning the women’s 1500m race. Mageean, hailing from Portaferry, attributed her success to her involvement in GAA activities, which she believes gave her an edge over her British opponents, Georgia Bell and Jemma Reekie. She managed to overtake them near the end of the competition.

In an interview with The Irish Sun, Ciara’s mother, Catherine, shared the family’s excitement and revealed that their homecoming celebration plans have been postponed until after the Olympics. Catherine and her husband, Christopher, watched the race from their home in Portaferry, Co Down, having previously witnessed Ciara secure bronze and silver medals at European Championships. Christopher’s elation was evident as he danced in the streets following his daughter’s victory.

Ciara’s athletic prowess runs in the family. Christopher, a former Down team player, famously relegated Kilkenny from Division 1 of the Allianz League in 1993. Catherine, an accomplished camogie player in her youth, believes that Ciara’s GAA background provided her with the physical and mental toughness needed to excel in athletics.

Overcoming the odds

The women’s 1500m race was a tense affair, with Mageean boxed in by Bell and Reekie with just 90 meters left. Demonstrating remarkable determination, she surged ahead to secure the gold medal with a time of 4.04.66. This victory added to her collection of bronze and silver medals from previous European Championships.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster programme, her mother expressed her joy, saying she was “over the moon” with Ciara’s win. Catherine noted the family’s usual attendance at European events and their plans to support Ciara in Paris.

The County Down woman’s triumph continued Irish success at the championships after Friday’s 4x400m mixed relay victory, which was the country’s first European gold since 1998. Mageean, who narrowly missed out on a 1500m medal when finishing fourth at last year’s World Championships, crossed the line – 0.67 seconds clear of Great Britain’s Bell.

Although from Portaferry, Mageean attended Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch. The head of PE at the school recalled noticing Mageean’s exceptional talent during a district cross-country competition in Year 10. She described Ciara’s performance as “absolutely fantastic,” attributing it to her natural ability.

The school community is “delighted” with Mageean’s success, with McCambridge highlighting the inspiration she provides to students not only in athletics but in other sports as well. Mageean’s former form teacher shared his pride and excitement, recalling how his wife berated him for shouting so loudly during Ciara’s final. He described Ciara as “vivacious, kind, and bubbly,” always enthusiastic and respectful in class.

Mageean’s determination and experience have fostered a “quiet confidence” when she competes in championship events. Catherine noted that Ciara’s performances in the 2022 European Championship and the Commonwealth Games cemented this confidence. Mageean herself commented on the tactical nature of the race and her ability to remain unfazed despite being boxed in.

Following her victory, Mageean made an immediate return to training in Saint Moritz, preparing for the Paris Olympics. The community of Portaferry and St Patrick’s GAC expressed immense pride in Mageean’s achievement. Padraig Mason, the treasurer of St Patrick’s GAC, highlighted Ciara’s determination and praised her for using her camogie skills to push through the pack during the final leg of the race. The close-knit community continues to rally behind Ciara, cheering her on as she prepares for the Paris Olympics.

Catherine believes Ciara’s GAA roots have significantly contributed to her physical prowess and mental resilience, enabling her to persevere in the face of competition. With the Paris Olympics on the horizon, Mageean aims to continue her winning streak and add another gold medal to her collection.

A remarkable milestone

The European Championships gold medal marks a significant milestone in Ciara’s career. At the age of 32, she has demonstrated the power of determination and resilience. Catherine expressed her excitement about the family’s upcoming travel plans to support Ciara at the Paris Olympics, sharing their collective pride in her accomplishments.

The European Championships have added a gold medal to Mageean’s impressive collection, making her an even more notable figure in Irish athletics. The close-knit community of St Patrick’s GAC, Portaferry, continues to take great pride in Ciara Mageean’s athletic achievements. As she embarks on her journey towards the Paris Olympics, they remain deeply invested in her pursuit of gold and cheer her on from afar.

Upon Ciara’s triumphant return from the Paris Olympics, the Mageean family looks forward to celebrating her achievements, taking great pride in her unwavering determination and indomitable spirit. Mageean’s story is a testament to hard work, perseverance, and the supportive community that has cheered her on every step of the way.

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