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Jerry Kiernan | A life in sport, remembered

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

20:57 21 Jan 2021

Off The Ball was joined by Eamonn Coghlan, friend and former colleague of Jerry Kiernan, whose death was announced on Thursday.

A Listowel man, Kiernan represented Ireland at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where he finished ninth in the marathon.

Jerry Kiernan

Coghlan remembered his friend on Thursday night's show.

"He found his true love in athletics. When he found schools athletics, he was one of the best in the country. Then he proceeded to the international scene.

"Beyond athletics, he reached out to thouands of people as a teacher at St Bridgid's in Blackrock.

"He just gave of himself so much. Jerry was an oddball, you didn't know what to think at times. He was strongly-opinionated, he was controversial.

"He was so, so smart; such a philosopher. Just such a great orator with a wonderful grasp of the English language."

Guts

Coghlan and Kiernan's storied relationship goes back a long time.

"I've known Jerry since we were young teenagers; we competed against each other, we trained with one another.

"We spent a lot of time with one another outside of athletics, with Bill O'Herlihy at RTE. We were just great friends.

"Jerry was a very hard worker. He may not have had the natural talent that I was lucky enough to have - and I had to work for it to come out - but Jerry worked harder than any other athlete of my era."

Marathon

"Jerry would do 120, 130, 150 miles a week because he wanted to be an Olympian.

"His dream came true when he qualified for the marathon 1984 with Dick Hooper.

"Coincidentally, John Treacy didn't qualify for the marathon in 1984; thanks to Al Guy, he was able to get in through the back door.  Little did we know that he would go on to win an Olympic medal!

"Also, little did we that Jerry Kiernan would be putting it up to him and Carlos Lopez through 20 miles. Many were thinking that two were on for a medal here.

"That was down to Jerry's guts, he had guts but he had to work so hard to achieve what he achieved."

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