Niamh McCarthy said she will take time to consider her future after she finished fifth in the F41 discus final in the Paralympic Games.

The Cork woman, who took silver in the event at Rio, had been in the medal positions early on in the final but couldn't match her rivals on a day of exceptional performances.

Having burst on to the scene in 2015 when she won bronze at the 2015 World Championships, McCarthy kicked on to win her silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics, World silver in 2017, a European title in 2018 [with a record throw of 32:67m] and World bronze in 2019.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport on Wednesday, McCarthy admitted her expectations had changed in recent times and opened up a challenging period leading up to the Games.

"I wasn't doing it for placings," the Cork woman said. "I really was in this competition for me. It was one of the first I've done exclusively just looking to be happy with my performance. I'm fine. I'm happy.

"I've had an exceptionally difficult few years. I nearly withdrew a week ago. To actually come out, get through the competition, hold it together and enjoy it, I'm really proud of myself."

Weighing up her next move, the 27-year-old added: "I don't think you'll be seeing me in Paris. I'd love to be involved but maybe not as an athlete. I've had a really long career so far - well it's felt very long anyway.

"I've done really good things. I'm not trying to prove anything else. Things did change the last few years. I'm not this new athlete who is getting medals in every competition. That's changed. It's kind of [about] trying to learn who I am and who I've become, if that makes sense.

"I'm not saying I'm over but I know I've gotten things in my career I wanted. Things change, you reassess and that's what I'll do when I go home. I couldn't be prouder of myself.

"Thank you for the support. This is happy tears now! I've felt the support for so long. It's been amazing."