INSIDE the last lap of the men’s 5000m final at the European Athletics Championships, Darragh McElhinney was in seventh place.
The 21-year-old Glengarriff athlete was where he wanted to be: in contention in the final lap at a major championship.
While he struggled in the final 300 metres, and slipped down to 16th position as he crossed the finish line on Tuesday night in Munich, McElhinney still impressed in a world-class field.
His time of 13:39.11 was well off his PB of 13:17.17, set in late May, but he’ll look back on this experience as another stepping stone in his development.
This was his first senior European championship as he mixed it with the world stars, including Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigsten who won gold, powering away from Mohamed Katir of Spain down the home straight.
From the 3400m mark to 200 metres to go McElhinney was in the top ten, as high as sixth at one stage, and his performance was better than his final position suggests.
He faded in the last 200 metres.
Still, there are bigger and better days ahead for the Beara man who has enjoyed a tremendous 2022, including setting six new PBs as well as national records.
Onward and upward.