'A great athletics man': Track legend Jerry Kiernan has died

Kiernan finished ninth in the Olympic marathon in LA in 1984
'A great athletics man': Track legend Jerry Kiernan has died

Jerry Kiernan

Legendary Irish athlete, coach, and commentator Jerry Kiernan has passed away.

He was 67.

Kiernan finished ninth in the Olympic marathon in LA in 1984, and in recent years he coached top athletes including Ciara Mageean and John Travers.

He was also a respected commentator on athletics for RTÉ.

Athletes all over the country paid tribute to Kiernan, as did President Michael D Higgins.

"The death of Jerry Kiernan, Olympian, sports commentator and athletics coach will have been heard with sadness by all those in the sports community and those who enjoyed his voice in commentary. His achievements in 1984, and his enduring coaching legacy will be long remembered," Mr Higgins said.

Jerry Kiernan crosses the line in the 1984 Cork Marathon. File photo

Jerry Kiernan crosses the line in the 1984 Cork Marathon. File photo

Former world 5,000m champion Eamonn Coghlan also paid tribute to Kiernan.

"I’m totally gutted to hear this very sad news. RIP Jerry Kiernan," he said, describing him as a "great friend".

David Gillick, a fellow Olympian and a former European champion said: 

"Terrible news, a great athletics man, never short of a few words, helpful to so many and always up for a laugh. Condolences to his family, friends and athletes."

Cork athlete Rob Heffernan also paid tribute to the Kerryman.

"We have just lost an iconic man of our sport. Jerry Kiernan you will be sadly missed by the athletics and sporting community, you said it as it was and you were an incredible athlete/coach/person and an inspiration to so many and touched so many [lives]."

Cliona O'Leary, Deputy Head of TV Sport, RTÉ, added: "We are all devastated; Jerry brought so much passion, honesty, humour and warmth to our coverage across three decades of Olympics, National, European and World Athletics Championships and Cross-Country Championships, and to everything he did.

"He was a great friend as well as a superb analyst; he was so knowledgeable across so many subjects, and what really stood out was his interest in other people and his desire to see them be the best they could be. Jerry brought so much to every encounter; it is so hard to believe that we have lost such a force of nature. We are all so sad to have lost such a great friend and colleague in RTÉ Sport and we send our sincere sympathies to Jerry's family and loved ones we are thinking of them at this extremely difficult time."

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