Ciara edged out for top accolade

Ciara edged out for top accolade

13 January 2021

PORTAFERRY runner Ciara Mageean narrowly missed out on a major award last week.

Ciara Mageean was one of 12 athletes nominated for The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Ciara was named Sportswoman of the Month for July last year as a result her record-breaking in Switzerland when she became the first Irish woman to break the two-minute mark for the 800 metres.

Although she described her first race of the post-lockdown athletic season in Bern as a “rust buster”, she showed she had put all the extra training to excellent use. 

Rose-Anne Galligan had held the Irish 800m record, running 2.00.58 in London seven years ago, with Mageean’s personal best over the distance a fraction behind at 2.00.79. 

However, Ciara produced an exceptional run to clock 1.59.69 to put herself, not for the first time, in the Irish athletics’ history books. She was already the holder of the indoor mile and 1500m records, setting both marks in 2019.

Clearly thrilled with the performance she explained her feelings on twitter at the time.

”I am absolutely delighted. With the disappointment of everything this year, Olympics postponed and lock-down for months, my coach, my team-mates and I put our heads down and worked hard. 

“I’m devastated I won’t run for Ireland this year, but I’ll continue to work and build on this for 2021 and beyond. I’m so grateful for the support of my coach, team-mates and everyone back home.”

The 28-year-old later told RTE that while the postponement of the Games might have initially left her deflated, she has been using this strange period to maker herself an even better athlete.

“I’ve tried to look on the Olympics being cancelled in a positive light, that it gives me an extra year to focus on strengthening my weaknesses, closing the gap on the girls that were ahead of me at the last World Champs.”

This is the 17th year of the awards, and Mageean was among 12 other monthly award winners nominated for the 2020 title.

Other monthly winners included jockey Rachael Blackmore, last year’s Sportswoman of the Year, rower Sanita Puspure and Co Antrim golfer Stephanie Meadow.

However, it was the August winner, Katie Taylor, the undisputed world lightweight boxing champion who was once again crowned overall winner.

Paying tribute to the 2020 winners, Sports Editor of The Irish Times Malachy Logan said they had overcome a unique set of challenge during the year.

“They all had to cope with constraints on training, the use of facilities and limits on travel,” he said. 

“Nevertheless, they showed the dedication and resilience that marks them out as outstanding competitors and brilliant role models for the tens of thousands of girls who would like to follow in their footsteps.”

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey said: “Today we celebrate all that is positive about sport both on and off the playing field as we honour Ireland’s top sporting talent.

“While many of our sporting arenas have unfortunately remained idle for much of the year, we have been lucky that our top athletes have been able to continue their training and competition.

“I congratulate each of the monthly award winners on their achievements and wish them well for what will hopefully be a year filled with sporting action in 2021.”