Track & Field

Mile great O’Shaughnessy passes away

One of Ireland’s greatest milers of the ’70s, Limerick’s Niall O’Shaughnessy, has passed away at the age of 59.

O’Shaughnessy passed away at his home outside Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday morning after a long battle with brain cancer.

The Adare native, who represented Ireland in both the 800m and 1500m at the 1976 Olympics, was once the European Indoor mile record holder, and still holds the Irish under-23 record for the indoor mile at 3:55.4.

O’Shaughnessy was the first of many Irish athletes to have success for John McDonnell’s University of Arkansas, joining the Razorbacks in 1973. He became the first runner from the college to earn All-American accolades in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

In 1994, he was inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor and it was announced earlier this month that he would be inducted into the Southwest Hall of Fame in November, but due to his declining health, McDonnell and Frank O’Mara — a fellow Limerick man and Razorback — travelled to Atlanta a fortnight ago to present him with the Hall of Fame medallion.

In 2012, a 3km running trail was named in honour of O’Shaughnessy in his native Adare, Co. Limerick, which runs from St Nicholas Abbey along the banks of the River Maigue.

May he rest in peace.

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.


  1. Deborah Reardon
    September 17, 2015 at 4:24 am — Reply

    Thought you may want to acknowledge the passing of George Guida, my father Jimmy Reardon and Ron Delaneys friend; Villanova track and field “Irish pipeline”.

    Thank you

  2. September 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm — Reply

    Wow, this was my something new about Limerick for today. R.I.P. Niall, you did well.

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