Wednesday 26 June 2019

Annalise Murphy omitted but 17 athletes receive maximum funding

Irish Olympic sailor, Annalise Murphy. Photo: Collins Dublin.
Irish Olympic sailor, Annalise Murphy. Photo: Collins Dublin.
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Annalise Murphy was the glaring omission from Sport Ireland's near €2 million investment in direct elite athlete development which was announced among a €31.8m investment in sport.

Murphy - Olympic silver medallist in Rio three years ago - lost her funding of €40,000 despite the Tokyo Games being less than two years away, although the 29-year-old will still be supported through the Irish Sailing Association.

Seventeen athletes received the maximum 'podium' amount of €40,000 with Paralympics Ireland taking the lion's share through Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop, Niamh McCarthy, Noelle Lenihan and Orla Barry (athletics) while Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal (Para Cycling) received €60,000.

Rowers Sanita Puspure and Paul and Gary O'Donovan, and boxers Joe Ward and newly-crowned world champion Kellie Harrington, were also included along with modern pentathletes Arthur Lanigan-O'Keeffe and Natalya Coyle as well as swimmer Ellen Keane, 400m hurdler Thomas Barr and gymnast Rhys McClenaghan.

That number increased from 12 last year but Murphy's absence may raise eyebrows having received €40,000 for the last six years following her fourth place in the single-handed Laser class in London 2012 before progressing to silver in Rio.

Much has changed since then, however, with the Dubliner stepping away from Olympic-class sailing and competing in last year's Volvo Ocean Race, while she has also moved into the 49erFX skiff, a two-person class, alongside Katie Tingle.

Sport Ireland's Director of high performance Paul McDermott explained Murphy's absence and highlighted that the necessary support is still available to her through the sailing federation.

"Annalise is absolutely one of our top athletes but she is in the new 49er FX boat, with a new partner, who unfortunately sustained an injury. Having said that, there is money set aside, up to €40,000, and the signs are good," McDermott said.

"Annalise has a phenomenal work ethic, and once they get on the water we can look at carding her officially. Until then we've told Irish sailing to fund this programme.

"That's central to the carding criteria, if you don't compete, you can't be funded.

"If we'd funded Annalise then we would have opened the door for a lot of others."

This funding cycle also marks the first occasion in which Sport Ireland will implement two-year carding ahead of Tokyo 2020 with CEO John Treacy believing that it gives athletes great stability given the pressures of an Olympic year.

"The move to a two-year model for the International Carding is a significant development.

"This new approach will remove pressures associated with carding criteria and allow athletes to fully focus on Tokyo 2020 qualification and performance," Treacy said.

Irish Independent

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