Sport

Ciara Mageean named Irish Track Athlete of the Year

Ciara Mageean after Irish record-breaking World Championship final run
Ciara Mageean after Irish record-breaking World Championship final run Ciara Mageean after Irish record-breaking World Championship final run

CIARA Mageean was named Irish Track Athlete of the Year by Athletics Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin yesterday. The recognition comes following another stupendous season from the Portaferry woman capped by a marvellous fourth place at the World Championships in Hungary.

Mageean broke the Irish record in taking that fourth spot in Budapest, setting a new Irish 1500m record of 3:56.61 which she improved to 3:55.87 less than three weeks later at the Diamond League final in Brussels when she finished second.

Mageean’s record-breaking was not confined to the 1500m. She also set new national marks over 800m (1:59.27) and one mile (4:14.58) as well as a personal best on the road for 5km (15:24).

Ireland’s other fourth-placer in Budapest, Rhasidat Adeleke, was named U23 Athlete of the Year. 

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Adeleke quit her athletics scholarship in the USA to turn professional before the Worlds after winning the 400m at the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Championships in an Irish record of 49.20 seconds.

She had earlier won the NCAA indoor title over the same distance and also set a new national mark of 50.33 seconds.

France-based Elizabeth Ndudi took the U20 Athlete of the Year award on the back of her victory in the long jump at the European Junior Championships in Jerusalem to add to the domination of the awards by female athletes. Nicola Tuthill won the nomination for University Athlete of the Year setting no fewer than six Irish U23 records in the hammer.

However, the males were not entirely overlooked with two Raheny Shamrock athletes picking up nominations. Brian Fay was given the Endurance Athlete of the Year title in recognition of breaking Alistair Cragg’s long-standing 5000m record with a 13:01.40 timing in the USA.

“It was a good year for me and Irish endurance running, so to be selected is an honour,” said Fay on accepting his award. 

Club-mate Eric Favors took the Field Athlete of the Year award following a new national mark (20.66m) and a fifth place finish in the European Throws Cup.

The mixed 4x400m relay squad that made the final of the World Championships was confirmed as Team of the Year and sprinter Israel Olatunde was deemed to have turned in the Inspirational Performance of the Year when he broke Paul Hession’s 16-year-old indoor 60m record with a 6.57 seconds timing.

“To be able to take that record at a national championships and to have all the support there to see it was really special,” said the UCD AC sprinter.

Cork man John Sheehan was rewarded for his 43 years work at Leevale AC with the Services to Coaching award and Matt Lynch was honoured with the Lifetime Services to Athletics as coach and chairperson at Sligo AC and latterly as chair at Kilkenny City Harriers.

Letterkenny athlete Ciaran McGonagle was Ultra Runner of the Year while Becky Quinn picked up the Mountain Runner of the Year accolade after winning her 100th IMRA race in 2023. 

Sprint hurdler Adam Nolan carried off the Schools Athlete of the Year title. 

National league winners Leevale were Performance Club of the Year and Ratoath were deemed Development Club of the Year. Founded in 1971, it now has over 500 members.