22 Jul 2009 - Athletics - Mageean wins European gold

Mageean came home in a superb time of 4 minutes 15.46 seconds to smash the Championship record of Romanian great Gabriela Szabo, a long-time rival of Mageean's sporting idol Sonia O'Sullivan.

"I went out there to try my best, I gave it everything," she said afterwards.

"I am really tired now but I'm delighted to have won the race."

The 17-year-old from Portaferry, County Down's new personal best saw her shave almost five seconds off Szabo's time.

Her run also bettered Natalie Davey's Irish junior record from 1991 by nearly two-and-a-half seconds.

A silver medallist in the 800m at the recent World Youth Championships, she made the early running before Serbia's Amela Terzic put her under pressure with a lap-and-a-half to go.

However, Mageean found an extra gear to increase her lead and she hit the line well clear of her challengers, with Romania's Ioan Raluca Doaga (4:18.44) and Terzic (4:22.28) completing the podium places.

Dubbed the 'new Sonia', Mageean is undoubtedly one to watch as she continues her progress through the junior ranks at European and world level.

Sonia O'Sullivan, the Irish team's deputy chef de mission for the European Youth Olympics, was fittingly present at trackside to cheer Mageean to victory.

The pair enjoyed a 15-minute jog in Tampere on Monday, as the 1500m heats were cancelled.

Mageean's gold is Ireland's second track medal at the Finnish event, following a silver medal for Ferrybank's Shane Quinn in the 3000m yesterday.

The gutsy Quinn gave it his all down the final straight to make it home in 8:30.12, just ahead of Russia's Il'gizar Safiulin with Britain's Callum Hawkins taking gold (8:23.62).