CORK'S Darragh McElhinney came agonisingly close to a medal after a brilliant run in the 3,000m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
The 22-year-old from Glengarriff was devastated to miss out on the podium but crossed the line in a superb fourth after being ranked ninth before the race.
Understandably, McElhinney was gutted to miss out on bronze despite his superb performance.
"I can't believe I came so close," he told RTE after.
"I knew anyone who went with Jakob was going to die to a certain degree and that is what happened. I timed it perfectly, well nearly perfectly.
"If I'd gone a tiny bit earlier... but then I wouldn't have been as fresh as I was on the last lap.
Norwegian superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen took the gold and along with Spain's Adel Mechaal and Serbia's Elzan Bibic were dominating heading into the final lap. McElhinney, in the pack up to then, kick on towards the line, closing all the way on Bibic, who claimed bronze.
The UCD AC runner managed a PB of seven minutes 44.72 seconds.
McElhinney holds the Irish junior 3,000m and 5,000m records outdoors and the indoor record for 5,000m. The Beara man also picked up a European junior bronze medal over 5,000m.
His signature performances up to now include 2019 when he became the first Irish athlete in 28 years to capture a long-distance medal at the U20 European Championships in Sweden and in 2021 when he led the Ireland U23 team to gold at the European Cross-country Championships in Dublin, securing a silver himself in the process.
He earned his spurs as a teen with Bantry AC and Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, and aged 16 McElhinney broke John Treacy’s long-standing Irish outdoor youth 3000m record set in 1974.
A fine Gaelic footballer as well, he was on Cork development squads, playing at U15 alongside the likes of Mark Keane, Blake Murphy, Daniel O’Mahony and Mark Cronin, who all went on to become Cork seniors. On the soccer front, his exploits with Bantry Bay Rovers earned him a place in the West Cork Kennedy Cup squad.
Meanwhile, Ireland's 4x400m relay team of Sophie Becker, Sharlene Mawdsley, Cliodhna Manning, and Cork's Phil Healy finished fifth in their final. They clocked 3:32.61, ahead of Great Britain, who finished sixth and last of the teams to line up.