Sean McGinley says his Turin experience has been the best in his life so far after competing at the European Cross Country Championships in Northern Italy.
McGinley finished 12th in the U20 Men’s race at Mandria Park in Turin and was the third counter on the Irish team which won the silver medal.
McGinley said: “As happy as I am with 12th I think it’s definitely left me hungrier for more. I wouldn’t say it was the race of my life but it’s definitely the experience of my life in terms of going to Italy and competing at a major championship.
“But first European medal it’s definitely up there with the top memories so I’m really pleased with it.”
McGinley knew there was pressure on the team to live up to the expectations of last year, but they more than exceeded that by running the UK close for the gold medal, with Ireland scoring 17 and the UK scoring 10.
He continued: “Last years team came second as well so there was maybe a bit more added pressure on us compared to last years team.
“But there was also pressure on ourselves to try and improve on last year and challenge for gold. Last years team scored 34/35 and we managed to half that down to 17 so it just shows the constant progression of athletics in Ireland, especially in our age group.
“To get in the team I was delighted with that there and to come away 12th individual and second team, couldn’t have been happier.”
McGinley was sixth place in the Junior’s Men’s race at the National Athletics Championships in Rosapenna last month and was disappointed with his resulted but was struggling with illness in the lead up to the competition.
So the Glenswilly man felt he had a point to prove at this Championships, and he proved it in style by coming in the top 12 and coming home as the third Irishman, behind Nick Griggs in second and Dean Casey in third.
He added: “It was a disappointing result and I don’t think everyone knew that I was sick.
“But having it in Donegal, it was a big goal to do well with the home crowd but unfortunately in the week leading up to it I knew it wasn’t going to be too likely.
“I ran the race as well as I could, I was disappointed on the day but luckily enough we found out a few days after we still got selected.
“To come away with 12th and third counter put that to bed that I should have been up there fighting with Nick and Dean at Nationals and I think I proved that to myself anyway.”
Watch the full interview below: