independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Family 'over the moon' with success

A PROUD brother and father of a Paralympic hero from Swords were glued to their television on Sunday as Catherine Walsh rode to glory and a silver medal in the London Velodrome.

Catherine is from a family of 10 from Swords and eight of them along with 14 members of the extended family were in the London Velodrome to witness her take Ireland's first ever Paralympic medal in cycling but keeping the home fires burning back in Swords was her father, Joe and brother, Michael. Joe decided not to travel to London after suffering a stroke earlier this year and Michael stayed behind in Swords to watch Catherine and her partner, Fran Meehan take their historic silver. In between fielding calls from hundreds of wellwishers, Michael spoke to the Fingal Independent about his sister's historic achievement. 'We knew she would do well and having seen the times they put in, in the heats, we thought silver was the most likely result. 'She would have been looking to win the gold but the New Zealand girls rode very well and you can't take it away from them,' Michael said. Michael said his father, Joe, was ' over the moon' watching his daughter win silver live on television and his contribution to Catherine's athletic development, along with his wife Bernie, cannot be over-estimated. Joe and Bernie have been stalwarts of Fingallian's Athletics Club where Catherine got her start in competitive sport, first competing on the running track before switching to the velodrome. Talking about his parents role in Catherine's success, 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.' Michael got a sample of the Paralympics atmosphere earlier in the week when he got to go to London for his sister's first race in the Velodrome and the rest of the family are now enjoying that atmosphere which he says is electric.

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