by ehistoryadmin on June 29, 2021

The Leinster Leader 4 December 1954

Famed Kildare athlete retires from Garda force

In a quiet room in the corner of the famed Kevin Street Garda Station, through the portals of which passed during the last half-century some of the greatest names in Irish athletic history, a simple function took place recently.

It was the occasion of a presentation from a few colleagues of a momento to Sergeant George Magan on his retirement from the Garda Siochana. That this ceremony should have taken place where it did was significant. Some 30 years before this quiet, unassuming Kildare athlete called there to meet a number of other noted athletes who had some months before joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police. There he renewed acquaintanceship with the late Bill Shanahan, Larry Stanley, Paddy Bermingham and Denis Carey, all big names in Irish athletics at the time. In a short time Kildare’s own George was to further enhance his already outstanding reputation as a runner, and in the following ten years he set the athletic world scribes agog with the versatility of his performances which have not been equalled before or since in Irish athletic history. George tackled the best in the country and outside in the middle distances from 600 yds. To 2 miles with outstanding success. In fact when it is considered that he had numerous victories from 220 yards to ten miles the extent of his versatility can be imagined. It was not on the track in flat races that he was best known, he figured on Ireland’s cross-country international team for five seasons which in itself must constitute a record.

100 prizes in one year

In one year alone, 1925, he won no fewer than 100 prizes, comprising races at 220 yards, 300, 440 and 880 yards, 600 and 1,000 metres, one mile, two miles and three miles races. In addition to these feats he turned out as a member of the garda football team and also captured a number of trophies as a footballer. At the latter game he would have won much distinction were it not for the fact that he was in such demand as a drawing card at athletic meetings for as early as 1919 he was a member of the successful Kildare team that won the All-Ireland championship.

He made numerous excursions to Great Britain with equal success, and his familiar green jersey became very popular at the major meetings; where his stylish action and whole-hearted efforts were rightly acclaimed.  He formed the backbone of the Garda Relay team which were unbeatable in the late 1920’s, and in this event they also conquered England’s best.

As storekeeper in the Metropolitan Division of the Gard Siochana during the emergency and war years, very heavy responsibilities rested on George, but his ability, courtesy and tact weathered these storms, and the Dublin Force were able to carry on suffering few of the disabilities to which the ordinary citizens were subjected.

To the unassuming, but indomitable athlete and sportsman all his friends in Kildare will wish many long, healthy and happy years in his retirement. George hails from Celbridge.

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