Sonia O'Sullivan leads praise for record-breaking Ciara Mageean

Irish athletics great Sonia O'Sullivan posted a picture of her with Ciara Mageean on Twitter after the Portaferry woman broke O'Sullivan's Irish 1500m record when winning Diamond League race in Brussels
Malcolm McCausland

CLASSY as ever Sonia O'Sullivan was among the first to congratulate Ciara Mageean after the Portaferry woman smashed her national 1500m record on Friday night. Mageean stopped the clock at an incredible time of 3.56.63 to chop two seconds off O'Sullivan's mark which had stood for over 27 years.

The City of Lisburn athlete turned in a sensational last lap moving from fourth to claim the victory in the Brussels Diamond League and in the process defeating Britain’s Laura Muir for the first time. The Scot had beaten Mageean to gold in both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships this summer with the woman from the Ards Peninsula.

“I knew I had it in me to go under four and I thought I had it in me to get an Irish record, but I didn't really follow them a 3:56”, said Mageean. “I'm on cloud nine. To be in the same realm as Sonia O Sullivan, she's a name everybody knows, not just in Ireland but globally, and to surpass her time as something I've always dreamed of. That Irish record has been in my sights a long time. I am glad I finally put my name to it.”

O'Sullivan was able to witness Mageean’s achievement first hand, having one of the best seats at the Ivo Van Damme Memorial Meeting in the King Baudouin Stadium. There was no hint of bitterness, as the three-time world champion took to Twitter and praise Mageean on her performance.

"Congratulations Ciara Mageean winning Brussels Diamond league 1500m and new Irish record," began O'Sullivan's tweet. "Old record is nearly as old as Ciara is young . Great to be in the stand to witness such a great race by Ciara who has had a great season and was not afraid to lose”

Mageean took over two seconds off O'Sullivans long-standing Irish record which she set at the Herculis meeting in Monaco on 25 July 1995 when she ran a time of 3:58.85. Ciara’s time also improved her previous personal best of 4:00.15 recorded at the World Athletics Championships in 2019. Muir’s time in second place on Friday night was 3:56.86 with Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia third in 3:56.94.

Meanwhile Kenyan Gideon Kimosop was the winner of yesterday’s Waterside Half Marathon in Derry crossing the finish line in 67:21. City of Derry Spartan Declan Reed was runner-up in 70:42 with Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin finishing third in 70:57.

The race also doubled as the NI & Ulster championship for the distance meaning that Noel McNally in fourth place with a 72:07 was able to pick up the provincial bronze medal with Kimosop being ineligible.

Catherine Whoriskey won a dour battle over Spartan club colleague Ciara Toner to take the woman’s crown by just 14 seconds in a time of 80:05. VPCAC’s Leann Gibson was third woman across the line in 84:36 to lift the NI & Ulster bronze medal. Twelve hundred runners started the race now organised by Derry City & Strabane DC.