HE WAS the fastest 400m runner in Europe this season but Brian Gregan's hopes of a medal were shattered when the Clonliffe runner was badly spiked after 200m of his semi-final and forced to hobble off the track with a badly gashed ankle.
The Tallaght quarter-miler had just moved into third place at the crucial half-way point in the race but was caught from behind by the Ukraine's Voldomyr Burakov who eventually finished third.
Even though he tried to right himself Gregan, who subsequently got nine stitches in the side of his ankle, had to limp off the track into the infield and was stretchered off the track afterwards and brought straight to the medical room.
The Irish management lodged an official protest but even if Gregan was reinstated there was absolutely no way he could race again and his focus now will be recovering full fitness for this summer.
"He is gutted, just gutted," said his coach John Shields. "He was absolutely keeping to the plan, which was to stay behind the Czech and Britain's Nigel Levin until the final straight and then take them, so he did everything absolutely right but the Ukrainian got him with his whole spike, he has four track marks down his ankle."
Earlier UCD physiotherapy student Ciara Everard (UCD) caused a sensation by making tomorrow's women's 800m final.
It needed a photo-finish to clinch her third place ahead of the Czech Republic's Lenka Masna who almost got up to catch her on the line and was given the same time of 2:03.40.
"I can't believe I've made the final, the pace was all over the place and it was a very messy race but it's fantastic to have made it and reaching the final will also give me more experience at this level," said the 22-year-old Kilkenny woman after reaching her first championship final in any age-group.
In the earlier 800m semi-final Newbridge's Rose Anne Galligan actually ran an indoor personal best of 2:02.84 but didn't get through as she only finished fifth and only the top three got through to the final.