THE Finn Valley Centre was packed to capacity on Monday night as former Irish athletics team manager Patsy McGonagle launched his new autobiography.
World Championship gold medallist and Olympic bronze medallist Rob Heffernan was the special guest on the night to officially launch ‘Relentless: A Race Through Time’.
Picture: Patsy McGonagle with Rob Heffernan at the launch of ‘Relentless: A Race Through Time’. Picture by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
McGonagle was Irish manager when Heffernan won gold in the men’s 50k race walk at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and his bronze medal win at the 2012 Olympic Games.
McGonagle was Irish athletics team manager for 25 years, during which time he led the cream of Irish track and field (including Sonia O’Sullivan, Heffernan, David Gillick, Derval O’Rourke and Mark English) into 4 Olympic Games, 6 World Championships and 6 European Championships.
“I wasn’t a fella for letting opportunity passing me by,” McGonagle said.
“I had good people around me and we worked well together. I led it and they went with me.”
A graduate from St Mary’s College for Physical Education in London in 1972, McGonagle never lost sight of his home county – he built Finn Valley Athletics Club into a world class facility, and twice served as a coach and selector with the Donegal senior football team.
Videos by Brendan O’Donnell of Jacksons Media TV …
‘Relentless’ was written by Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub Sports Editor Chris McNulty: “To have lived Patsy’s life with him over the last 18 months has been a remarkable journey.”
Heffernan worked under McGonagle for around 20 years with the Irish athletics team and the Cork man wasn’t for missing Monday’s launch: “I wouldn’t do this for many men, but I couldn’t wait to be here to see the empire that Patsy has built.”
‘Relentless: A Race Through Time’, Patsy McGonagle, A Memoir (with Chris McNulty); Published: June 2019, Hero Books, €20.00 (ISBN 9781910827079)