LOCAL CONNECTIONS Longford native Cian McPhillips is pictured running for Ireland during the Men’s 800m semi-final at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Poland last weekend. Pic: Sportsfile
LONGFORD runner Cian McPhillips, who finished fourth in the semi final of the 800m at the European Indoor Championship in Torun, Poland, on Saturday evening, is no stranger to Knock.
His mother, Laura (Heneghan), is daughter of the late Seán and Teresa Heneghan, formerly of Knock Post Office and shop at the village roundabout.
Cian (18) is a Leaving Cert student at Moyne Community School in Co Longford where his father Paddy, a native of Monaghan, is deputy principal. Laura works with Longford County Council while his sister Sarah is also a student at Moyne College.
An extraordinary performance which saw him win the prestigious High School Mile in front of over 5,000 spectators at the Armory Arena in New York last year, as part of the Millrose Games, announced Cian’s arrival as a top class athlete on a grand scale.
Setting a National Junior and Under-23 record, Cian is now the second fastest Under-20 performer in the Indoor 800 metres in European athletics history and the quickest on the continent’s record books in over 20 years.
Despite his outstanding achievement in reaching the European semi-finals at the age of 18 and competing against all the senior runners, the 800m is not his first choice.
Cian is most at ease when running the 1,500m and is expected to focus on this distance in the times ahead.
There were no shortage of good wishes pouring into the Heneghan family home in Knock on Friday and Saturday where Laura’s brother, Raymond, and his wife Yvonne (née Merrick) and family watched the events unfold on television as Cian’s successful run in the quarter finals saw him claim a spot in the penultimate stages of the European 800m Indoors.
Raymond’s other sister, Patricia (who worked in the Bank of Ireland in Castlebar for some years) and her husband Dave Sweeney and family reside in Corrandulla, Co Galway.
The McPhillips family reside in Ardagh in Longford and it looks certain that the people of Knock and hinterland will be taking a huge interest and pride in the performances of Cian on athletic tracks and arenas at home and overseas in the times ahead.