Family and club of silver medal cyclist appeal for Irish velodrome

‘When are they going to get the support?’ asks brother of cyclist Eve McCrystal

Eve McCrystal and her brother Bryan McCrystal, who says: ‘How many more Olympics do we have to go through and come to the end of them and say that ‘Ireland needs a velodrome?’’

Eve McCrystal and her brother Bryan McCrystal, who says: ‘How many more Olympics do we have to go through and come to the end of them and say that ‘Ireland needs a velodrome?’’

 

Paralympic cyclist Eve McCrystal has just won a silver medal in Tokyo - but not to be outdone her 12-year-old nephew Rian claimed a medal of the same colour at the the Mountain Bike National Championships in Newry on Saturday morning.

Bryan McCrystal said that he was immensely proud of the achievement of his son and overjoyed at the enormous success of his 43-year-old sister who won a medal alongside Katie George Dunlevy in a Paralympic tandem event.

“The race just finished here in Newry. Rian is delighted. Eve winning was very exciting. All the work that she has done showed in her performance. Not many people get to win a medal like that.

“I have to pay tribute to their coach Neill Delahaye. He set the standard so many years ago. Eve is also a garda and she gets a lot of help from the guards. She is thankful and grateful to them for the support they give to her to get her training done.

“Eve has made a lot of sacrifices. She has a young family who are 13 and 11. She has had to do a long time away from them (to train) so there is a bit of sacrifice.”

Bryan stresses that Ireland needs a velodrome for track cycling so that athletes like Eve aren’t forced to go overseas for training.

“How many more Olympics do we have to go through and come to the end of them and say that ‘Ireland needs a velodrome?’ We knew this 20 years ago. When are they going to get the support?

“There are kids there who are ten years of age who are potentially Olympic champions if we have the facilities.”

Covid bubble

Prior to the Paralympics, Drogheda-born Eve and her tandem partner Katie George were training six days a week in Portugal. The pair also trained in Mallorca for two weeks in June arising out of the absence of dedicated cycling facilities for elite athletes in Ireland.

Katie George moved in with Eve and her family during the strictest part of the pandemic in order to form a bubble in compliance with Covid restrictions.

Meanwhile, they were celebrating at Cuchulainn Cycling Club In Dundalk with club President, Pat O’Shaughnessy, saying that he was enormously proud of Eve and of Katie George.

“Eve is a fantastic ambassador. We run events for children and she brings her own children along. She trains on her turbo trainer which is fantastic for the kids to watch. Eve is very personable and she imbues the kids with a lot of information which they take on board.

“She is a superb role model. We are absolutely thrilled. Totally over the moon. She first came to us about ten to 12 years ago. She was relatively late to cycling.

“You could see the potential in her very quickly. Very quickly she was racing with lads in the club at an elite or high level. She always took direction well. She is very determined and has had to do a huge amount of training away because of the lack of a velodrome.”

In unison

He also paid tribute to the huge bond formed between Katie and Evie.

“The bond the two of them have is incredible. Katie has been around at the club many times. They are in unison. It was inevitable that they were going to do it.”

There was also great pride at Setanta Triathlon Club in Dundalk. Peter Tomany, Treasurer of the club, says they first encountered Eve about ten years ago when she did her first Iron man competition.

“She has the talent but she also has an enormous work ethic. She has kids and a job as a guard so she works so hard. Her dedication is huge. She is a naturally talented athlete.”

Katie George and Eve won a silver medal in the B 3,000m individual pursuit at the Paralympics.

Katie George Dunlevy (39) is a native of Crawley in the UK. Registered blind she represents Ireland as her father is a native of Mountcharles in Co Donegal. Eve is the pilot for Katie George.

The pair won gold and silver road cycling medals in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio three years after they met for the first time.

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