Euro medal is ‘only the beginning’ for Downey

Dromore's Mark Downey in the thick of the action and on his way to a European silver.
Dromore's Mark Downey in the thick of the action and on his way to a European silver.

Mark Downey’s rise through cycling is gathering ever more pace.

The Dromore man is now a European medal winner after he put in what he considered the performance of his life so far in the points race at the European U23 Track Championships.

It was enough to secure silver against stiff opposition including the reigning World and European Champions, beaten only by the World Champion.

But, he says, the result is only the beginning for the Banbridge CC man.

“Words can’t describe this feeling,” he said on Facebook after the race. “I’m going to enjoy this moment - the biggest result in my career but let me tell you this is only the beginning.

“I have to thank everyone of (the Irish Federation) for their help and support. I must also thank my mum and dad and family who have stuck by my side in the highs and lows this season.

“Crying down the phone to them after the race is a special moment I will never forget in my career. They have done more than enough for me and I want (them) to enjoy this moment.

“Also a huge thanks to my team VC Toucy who have been so understanding and trusting in what I want to focus on this season. This is also for you and the help you give me.

“Also a massive thanks to the Emerald Fund a new foundation set up this year to provide help to young riders. I couldn’t have done it without you.

“Last but not least anyone who follows me and is constantly supporting me back at home I owe each and every one of you a massive thanks. To have that support is overwhelming.”

Downey was also riding in the individual pursuit and the madison events while also selected for the Irish team was fellow Banbridge CC member Shenna McKiverigann, who was competing in the junior events. She competed in the individual sprint and scratch races.

Shenna had a difficult start to the Championships with a crash interrupting her initial event. However she dusted herself down and got on with the task at hand and recorded an excellent sixth place in the sprint and ninth place in the scratch race.

It was a brave performance by the young Gilford lady who will now travel to Switzerland for the World Junior Track Championships.