independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

CATHERINE THE GREAT

SWORDS WOMAN BRINGS SILVER AND BRONZE HOME FROM LONDON

JOHN MANNING

Published 11/09/2012 | 17:10

(Main) Catherine Walsh celebrates her Bronze medal with her son, Conor Roode; (above) Catherine and pilot Fran Meehan on the podium, (right) during their time trial at Brands Hatch and (below) celebrating their third place result at the finish.

SWORDS paracycling hero, Catherine Walsh returned home last night wearing not one but two Paralympic medals amid emotional scenes that greeted Team Ireland's triumphant return to Dublin Airport. Catherine and her paracycling partner, Fran Meehan added a bronze medal in the Women's Individual Time Trial on the road to the silver they had already won inside the velodrome in London. The iconic venue of Brands Hatch was the backdrop for the pair's second medal of these extraordinary games as they clocked a time of 35:29:56 to secure their place on the podium behind pairings from the Netherlands and New Zealand. Catherine's family in Swords

are 'over the moon' following her incredible success at the games and it will be a week of celebrations ahead with neighbours and friends of the family as the Paralympic hero returns home. Catherine's parents, Joe and Bernie have been stalwarts of Fingallian's Athletics Club where the Paralympic medalist got her start in competitive sport, first competing on the running track before switching to cycling. Talking about his parents role in Catherine's success, her brother Michael said: 'They have had a huge part to play. They have provided here with great support as well and have always been there for her.' But more than anything, Catherine's success is down to her own hard work and her relationship with her cycling partner, Fran. Michael said: 'They have put an awful lot of effort into this and have been training every day together and relying on each other to push themselves to the limit.' Catherine and Fran finished their Paralympic programme with a ninth placing in the road race but by then the pair had already quite a lot of precious metal around their necks. The Swords woman has a busy week ahead as she and her teammates are honoured by the Taoiseach and the President and we hear there may be a Late Late Show appearance in Catherine's immediate future.

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