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So near, yet so far, for Mageean as Portaferry runner misses bronze by a less than a second



Tearful: Ciara Mageean

Tearful: Ciara Mageean

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Tearful: Ciara Mageean

Portaferry's Ciara Mageean had the agonising experience last night of finishing fourth in the European 1,500 metres final in Berlin, just missing out on a medal by less than a second.

It was a case of so near, yet so far for the 26-year-old who gave everything in a race dominated, as expected, by European Indoors champion Laura Muir.

After a pedestrian early pace, Muir took up the gauntlet halfway through and never relinquished the lead.

Ciara was in contention with 150 metres left along with GB's Laura Weightman and Poland's Sofia Ennaoui. However, Weightman got the edge in the home straight which Mageean, try as she could, just could not close for the bronze .

An unchallenged Muir took gold in 4.02.32 ahead of Ennaoui (4.03.08) and Weightman (4.03.75). Ciara recorded 4.04.63.

A despondent Mageean said: "I didn't come here for fourth - it's just the worse place to be. Fourth is a very lonely place.

I left everything out there. I was on my hands and knees at the finish. I do, however, take a lot from this and I am improving all the time. This was a much better field than two years ago when I got bronze. Laura is a world class athlete and I am just not yet up with her.

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"Weightman had an extra gear and I thought I had her. I can hold my head high after tonight.

"There is more to come and I feel I am going from strength to strength. From now on I want other girls to look at me on the line as a real threat."

In an eventful day, the Irish Women's Relay team were just run out of a finals place in the sprint relay.

In the Men's Marathon, run in 30 degree temperatures, Belfast's Kevin Seaward ran a cagey, determined race to finish an excellent 15th in the 100 strong field and head the Irish team to a commendable sixth place in the Team event behind winners Italy.

Commonwealth Games fourth placer Seaward of St Malachy's was his usual cautious starter and went through the halfway mark in just over 68 minutes.

After that, he gradually made inroads into the opposition in a standard even paced race. The 32-year-old passed long time early Irish leader Mick Clohissey with four miles remaining. Seaward mirrored his tactics in Australia and finished like the proverbial train in 2 hrs 16 mins 58 secs which is one of his fastest times.

He was followed by Clohissey in 18th (2.18.00) Sean Hehir (25th in 2.18.58 ), Sergiu Ciobanu (36th in 2.19.49) and Annadale's Paul Pollock (47th in 2.23.26).

The race was won by Koen Naert of Belgium in a personal best of 2 hrs 9 mins 51 secs.

An elated Seaward said: "It was hot out there in the second half but there were five guys to spur each other on for the team.

"I knew that if I held strong in the second half I would do OK .

"There were shades of the Gold Coast here but I respect the weather. I took time off after Australia to prepare for this.

"I am happy with that but want to run quicker, perhaps in the autumn when I would like to break 2 hrs 14 mins. I feel really strong at the moment and have been injury free for a long time."

Holywood's Pollock, only back after 11 weeks serious injury, felt he could help out if a medal was in the offing. He said that unfortunately, the last six miles were a real grind but he was determined to get back with a possible marathon in the autumn.

The Women's Marathon was won by Volha Mazuronak of Belarus in 2 hrs 26 mins 22 secs. The Irish team included two Northern Ireland girls.

Leevale's Lizzie Lee was 29th in 2.40.12 followed by City of Derry's Breege Connolly (31st in 2.41.53) and North Belfast's Gladys Ganiel (33rd in 2.42.42) .

Lee commented: "I broke a toenail which stuck in my foot. This obviously caused problems, along with the temperatures, especially in the last six miles, which were tough."

Earlier in the 20k walk, Leevale's Alex Wright received two warnings before finishing a commendable 10th in a season's best time of 1hr 22mins 18secs.

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