Ciara Mageean: Coach Jerry Kiernan allays fears over athlete's Achilles

Ciara Mageean was upset after having to step off the track with an Achilles injury
Ciara Mageean dropped out of the women's 1500m final at the European Indoors in Belgrade

Fears that Ciara Mageean suffered a serious Achilles injury in Saturday's European Indoor 1500m final have been allayed by her coach Jerry Kiernan.

Portaferry runner Mageean dropped out of the Belgrade final and in an emotional interview afterwards, said "something was up" with her Achilles.

Kiernan revealed that Athletics Ireland physio Emma Gallivan had found "no evidence of an acute injury".

"Her Achilles is an issue but it's a very minor one," Kiernan told the BBC.

"It's something she has to keep an eye on and that will probably always be the case.

"For any athlete who trains hard, there are always going to be these kind of issues."

Mageean was out for almost two years because of a serious problem with her left Achilles but Saturday's issue was with her other foot.

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Kiernan says the main reason for the European outdoor bronze medallist's comparative struggles in the Serbian capital was a lingering cold which has been bothering the 24-year-old for three weeks.

After being mentioned as a medal hope going into last weekend's championships, Mageean squeezed into the final as a fastest loser before dropping out of the decider as Briton's Laura Muir clinched the first of her two Belgrade triumphs.

"Ciara has been unwell for a few weeks. Not sufficiently unwell to have pulled out of the European Indoors because it was always our plan to use the championships as a way of breaking up the winter," Kiernan told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

"The women's 1500m in Belgrade was an absolutely loaded field. You had Laura Muir at the head of affairs but particularly all the world's top runners in the event were also there bar (Genzebe) Dibaba, Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury.

"To be able to compete in that kind of company, you have got to in perfect condition and Ciara wasn't because of the cold that she has had for a couple of weeks."

Kiernan says Mageean will take this week off, and possibly spend a couple of days off at home in Portaferry, following the Belgrade championships before resuming training next Monday.

The county Down woman is likely to have a warm-weather training stint around Easter before beginning her outdoor season in June.

Given her world-class 4:01.46 clocking at the Paris Diamond League meeting last August which left her 12th in the global 1500m rankings, Mageean can expect to gain entry to several of the European circuit's top meetings this year and Kiernan says the athlete may begin her season in earnest in Rome on 8 June.

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