"This four-week block is going to be huge, especially with the internationals away, but it's a great chance for the younger lads to stake their claim.
"The momentum is there, we're going well. It's a matter of keeping the momentum going, we've done well but now there's a bit of a change with the international boys away. It's an opportunity for the younger lads to put their stamp on the team - as they've done earlier in the season - and keep that going for the next four or five weeks," he added.
That momentum has seen Munster defeated just once in their last 12 games as they moved to the top of the PRO12 and secured a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup, a prospect that Dubliner Downey thought unlikely after the opening day defeat at Murayfield.
"When we lost that first game to Edinburgh, it was just about qualifying and trying to get out of the group. And against Perpignan when they scored that try, some people might have thought we wouldn't have gotten through at all.
"But we played a lot better against Edinburgh at Thomond Park and got the points required and to get a home quarter-final is great.
"From week one it wouldn't have looked that way but everyone has gelled together and we knew the ability we had in the squad and it really came to the fore there at the end, it's been a real squad effort to get the home quarter."
Following that victory, the majority of the players were given a well-earned break before heading into the second half of the season and Downey was glad of the rest after that Edinburgh game and the bruising encounter against Gloucester at Kingsholm.
"It was good to get away and recharge the batteries, especially after the Heineken Cup games. I went away with my girlfriend to Dubai to get a bit of sun. But we're straight back into it now, back into a tough four weeks."
The 32-year-old played his first game for Munster against Cardiff in a brief spell at the province in 2006 before moving to Calvisano in Italy and then Northampton before returning in 2012.
Although he can't recall much from that debut - "it's a bit of a blur, I think I was running around chasing everything!" - the Clontarf man relishes the challenge posed by every side that visits the league leaders.
"I think every team that comes to Thomond Park will try to take a scalp, we're top of the league and everybody wants to beat the team at the top.
"We're being held up there on a pedestal, people up their game when they come over to Thomond and we'll have to up our game accordingly."
Munster face Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park on Saturday, 8th February at 7:15pm and tickets can be purchased online here.
There are also hospitality packages available for the game, for more details please contact our Sales Development Executive Anthony Morrissey on 087 6202530.