Last night the Irish team from the European U23 Championships received a warm welcome home from friends, family and members of the media at Dublin airport, none more than the 21 year old Brian Gegan, who led the team into the arrivals area, proudly wearing his magnificent silver medal from the men’s 400m final. Gregan’s family, coach John Shields, and girlfriend were there to greet Ireland’s latest major championship medal winner, and the tall Dubliner was delighted with the team’s welcome.
“It’s great to come home to this for all the team. There was a great team spirit in the camp, and to win a medal just makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Brian Gregan’s father Brian Snr., said that he had sent a text message to his son on the morning of the final, which simply read: “Relax, and run like the clappers! And if you don’t know what that means son, it means run, fast!”
Which of course Gregan, Ireland’s fastest 400m athlete so far this season, certainly did – narrowly missing taking the gold in the process.
There were other proud parents and friends there to welcome members of the team home, including Liam Treacy, father of Sara, who ran a PB and made the final of the highly competitive women’s 1500m event on Sunday. Treacy too said the experience was really motivating:
“It was great to make to the final and to have run a PB. When you toe the line in a final, it just reminds you that anything can happen, and that it’s just 12 athletes all in with a chance of doing something special. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and to keep moving forward.”
Overall the Championships saw some noteworthy performances from this Irish team.
Ireland had 6 finalists in different events, and 6 personal bests (PB) set from 6 individual athletes.
Brian Gregan – 400m – finalist, medalist & PB
Timmy Crowe – 400m H – PB
Steven Colvert – 200m – finalist & PB
Sara Treacy – 1500m – finalist & PB
Jessie Barr – 400m H – finalist & PB
Kourosh Foroughi – High Jump – finalist
Anthony Lieghio – 800m – finalist & PB
Some members of this team will still be eligible to compete at the next European U23 Championships in 2013, including the talented Paul Robinson (St Coca’s AC) who missed out on making the men’s 1500m final by the narrowest of margins at this event, but who, like other members of the team, is eager to learn from the experience and keep progressing.
Team Manager Teresa McDaid had reason to feel pleased: “All the team gave it 100% and for Brian to win a medal just underlined how healthy our junior and U23 ranks are at the moment. His medal will only serve to drive others on to greater success. The Irish team for next weekend’s European Junior Championships also has some real great potential for more finalists and PB’s.”