West Cork athletics rising star McElhinney claims a bronze medal in Sweden

West Cork athletics rising star McElhinney claims a bronze medal in Sweden
Picture: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

CORK athletic sensation Darragh McElhinney followed in the footsteps of John Treacy and Mark Carroll with a brilliant display in landing a bronze medal in Sweden.

The Glengarriff native picked up a 5,000m medal at the European U20 Championships in a time of 14.06.05.

Treacy was a silver medalist in '75 and another Leesider Carroll captured gold in 1991.

McElhinney was leading with two laps to go but eventually had to settle for bronze, unable to match his national record of 13:54.10.

The 19-year-old, who was always a talented footballer and soccer player before focusing on running, explained afterward he was initially disappointed on missing out on gold.

"Initially I was disappointed because I came here looking for gold. It's a bit of anti-climax because at the start of the season I wrote down goals and I wanted a European medal.

"I’ve achieved that, but the way the season panned out, and the form I have been in for the past few months, my aim was to win gold."

He'll learn from the experience and be at the forefront of Irish athletics in the coming years.

"I probably just got a bit excited with a kilometre to go when I was very controlled during the race. When I hit the front with a kilometre to go, I felt okay," he said.

"With Aron overtook me at the bell, I said this is my chance to sit in behind and just follow him, but I just didn't have the legs for it today.

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