TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to Olympic athlete Jerry Kiernan after he passed away at the age of 67.
Mr Kiernan, a decorated long-distance runner from Listowel in County Kerry, represented Ireland in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he finished ninth in the men's marathon.
He twice won the Dublin Marathon, as well as the national cross country title n 1984, and went on to coach a number of prominent Irish athletes, including Ciara Mageean, who has competed in a number of World Championships.
Mr Kiernan was also a regular fixture on RTÉ coverage of athletic events, particularly the Olympic games where he himself had represented Ireland, and was a popular figure in the sports community in Ireland and beyond.
President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, yesterday led the tributes to the 67-year-old, writing "The death of Jerry Kiernan, Olypian, sports commentator and athletics coach will have been heard with sadness by all those in the sports community and those who enjoyed his voice in commentary.
"His achievements in 1984, and his enduring coaching legacy will be long remembered."
Prominent RTÉ presenter Marty Morrissey, writing on Twitter, said he "can't get over the passing of Jerry Kiernan".
"A most interesting man whose company I loved with his great stories & insights on life. Worked on various Olympic programmes with him.
"So young, such a loss. My deepest sympathies to the Kiernan Family. RIP ."
I really can’t get over the passing of Jerry Kiernan. A most interesting man whose company I loved with his great stories & insights on life. Worked on various Olympic programmes with him. So young, such a loss. My deepest sympathies to the Kiernan Family. RIP @RTEsport @rtenews
— Marty Morrissey (@MartyM_RTE) January 22, 2021
Ciara Mageean paid tribute to her former coach, writing "There will be a few people who walk through your life and leave lasting footprints in your heart. Jerry Kiernan was one of those people.
"I feel truly blessed and privileged to have been able to call him my coach and friend.
"Thank you Jerry, for everything."
Former Marathon runner Tom Kitt, who ran in the 80's and 90's alongside Mr Kiernan, said he was "always so supportive".
"Gifted athlete and commentator. Great character. Rest in peace Jerry."
The Athletics Ireland association said "We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Jerry Kiernan.
"Jerry finished 9th in the Olympic marathon in 1984, and also coached many of Ireland's top athletes, including Ciara Mageean and John Travers.
"May he rest in peace."
We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Jerry Kiernan.
Jerry finished 9th in the Olympic marathon in 1984, and also coached many of Ireland's top athletes, including Ciara Mageean and John Travers.
May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/4FFk2EvMtv
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) January 21, 2021
In a statement, his club, Clonliffe Harriers, said: "It's with absolute shock that Clonliffe Harriers have to announce the very sad death last night of 1984 Olympian and Clonliffe Harriers life member Jerry Kiernan.
"He will be greatly missed by his family, club mates, athletes and the athletics family."