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Fiona Mangan has buried herself in European racing over the last few years to make it in cycling and now she’s national champion (Photo: Eamon Doody-Skyview Photography)

Fiona Mangan may have come to cycling late by modern standards but her work ethic over recent years, and her class, have now culminated in a coveted national tile.

The Limerick woman plies her trade in Europe with US-registered Continental team Cynisca Cycling. It will not be charged with coming up with a first in the team’s history; a national champion’s jersey in the Irish livery.

It is one that Mangan can hopefully wear in some of the biggest races, as she has already competed in the women’s Vuelta.

On Thursday evening in her native Limerick, however, she was still busy simply taking in the fact she was national champion; something she was clearly delighted with.

“I was lucky enough because I live close-by and I managed to get out last week and do the course a bit,” she said.

“I knew I’d gain more on the descents than the uphills so I really trusted by recon of it and just went as fast as I could, that’s it really,” she laughed.

However, there was also a very serious side for Mangan; a relative late-comer to cycling who has buried herself in Europe to improve and now has an Irish national title in her palmares.

And that sense of transition and improvement, to a clear high point in her career to date, was sinking in after the finish in Limerick on Thursday evening.

“It’s so special, so special and such a relief as well because I’ve worked so hard. I just want to thank everyone that’s helped me throughout the years and this means more to them and it’s so nice to wear the Irish champion’s jersey.”

In Athea on Thursday evening Mangan covered the lumpy 36.6km course in a time of 56:04. She was 43 seconds up on Annalise Murphy (Longcourt Hotel-NCW Wheelers), who took silver to add to her hatful of national track titles. Roisin Thomas (Un-Attached Connacht) was 3rd at 3:14.

Mangan’s first UCI-ranked race was the 2020 National Road Championships; the pandemic delayed races that took place in October that year.

Since then she has represented Ireland, and also rode La Vuelta Femenina by (2.WWT) last season.

Though she has enjoyed success on home roads, winning the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in 2021, her win in the TT championships is her biggest victory today.

The 28-year-old Limerick woman previously played Gaelic football, with Mungret St Paul’s GAA, before she moved into triathlon. That transition only came about when she went to Atlanta in the US for college – to study to be a biomedical engineer.

She joined the triathlon club at university to keep fit and compete, but mainly as a means of going to camps at weekends so she could explore the area. When the pandemic struck in 2020, the combination of a running injury and swimming pools being closed meant she began to focus solely on her cycling.

As she was back living at home in Limerick at the time, she began training with Greenmount Cycling Academy; her 10th place in the road race at the Nationals in 2020 kick-starting a storied career so far.

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