From Drimnagh in Dublin to becoming a revered name in America for his exploits as an indoor runner, Eamonn Coghlan certainly made his mark. 

In the 1970s/80s, Coghlan lit up the Wannamaker Mile at Madison Square Garden, with seven victories. They could have called him the 'King of the Boards' - instead they went for 'Chairman of the Boards'.

One race to pick out was Coghlan's tremendous world mile record of 3.49.78 set in 1983. It would last for 14 years.

There were disappointments, however, for the Dubliner. At successive Olympics Games in 1976 and 1980, he was placed fourth in the 1500m and 5000m respectively. He had to wait before finally conquering all as an outdoor competitor when securing 5000m gold at the Helsinki World Championships in 1983.

On the Wednesday Legend slot on 2fm's Game On, Coghlan looked back on his career - a time when life was simpler and when Irish athletes certainly made a significant contribution in athletics.

"It was a pleasure to bring so much joy to so many people," he said.

"The journey for me began in 1971 when I finished secondary school and went to Villanova University. There was no internet at the time but I started competing and the races were live on tv in the States. Back in Ireland I think you got highlights on ITV.

"There were less distractions, it was a great time for me and a great time for track and field. There was a tremendous interest in the sport. You had great personalities in Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, John Walker and Thomas Wessinghage. Before that in Ireland you had Ronnie Delany, right through to Marcus O'Sullivan and Sonia O'Sullivan.


We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

"Irish athletes were performing at the highest level and whether it was New York, Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles or London, the Irish, more so than any other nationality, came out to cheer us guys on. It was great to be competing at the highest level on a consistent basis.

"I was lucky to be winning a lot and getting cheered on a lot."

"Yet, at the same time, it took those setbacks for me to get it right sometime on the world stage"

And while Coghlan was making waves on the other side of the Atlantic during the 1970s, The Troubles were raging on Irish soil. The near miss of a fourth-place finish in Montreal in 1976 was the chance for on American journalist to sum up what Coghlan's efforts meant for those watching from afar.

The Dubliner continued: "There was this article in Sports Illustrated, (Coghlan appeared on the cover three times) written by Kenneth Moore. The very first sentence in the article was 'He may have finished fourth in the Olympic Games - but for four minutes he united Ireland'. I looked upon that as a great honour, whether you were from Cork, Donegal or Belfast, everyone was cheering for the guy running for Ireland.

And then to that day in August 1983 when one Irish athlete could finally banish the heartache of narrowly missing out on a medal when it mattered most outdoors.

"I was up there beating the best in the world, not fearing anybody in the world, winning all the races. You make a mistake in 1976, you get injured in 1980 and both times you finish fourth. Fourth place is the worst place to be and the disappointment lingered for a long time. 

"Yet, at the same time, it took those setbacks for me to get it right sometime on the world stage. I went on to become outdoor world champion in 1983 and was able to go out on my terms by running the first sub-four-minute mile at the age of 41. That was a big, big deal back in 1994."