Former world track champion Martyn Irvine directing Irish U23 team

European races to be completed by team as Cycling Ireland announces funding increase

Former world track champion Martyn Irvine has been confirmed as directing a young Irish team later this month in what will be the first of a series of European stage races targeted by Cycling Ireland’s under-23 road programme.

Five under-23 competitors plus an older road captain will compete in the 2.2-ranked Flèche du Sud in Luxembourg, which runs from May 25th to 29th. The team includes the 2021 junior road race and time trial national champion Darren Rafferty, as well as Matthew Devins, Odhran Doogan, Dean Harvey and Adam Kelly. 25 year old Daire Feeley will also compete with the squad, the elite national road race championship silver medallist guiding the younger riders from the bike during each stage.

Irvine will share his own knowledge from the team car and sees the race as the first step in a programme to increase the riders’ development and experience.

“Flèche du Sud marks the start of our season and is an important development opportunity for the riders,” he said on Friday. “Our primary goals are to use the event as a learning experience and show what we are capable of against some quality riders.


“Over the course of the season there will be opportunities for other promising riders as we vary the team selection to maximise the learning experience for a wider cohort of athletes and take account of rider availability and fitness. Next we will turn our attention to the Rás which makes a welcome return for 2022 and provides another exciting development opportunity.”


Meanwhile Cycling Ireland is hailing an 18 per cent increase in funding for the current Olympic cycle after confirmation this week that it will receive a total of €520,000 this year and in each of the next two years.

The money will be used to support its high performance funding programme with a view to building towards the best possible performances in the Paris Olympics.

Totalling €2 million when last year’s €440,000 is counted, the Paris Olympic cycle funding represents a clear jump in what was allocated previously. The high performance allocations were €305,000, €350,000 and

€440,000 in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.

“This funding is essential to support the ambition of our athletes and for the high performance unit to support them with the best possible training and racing opportunities,” Cycling Ireland’s high performance director Iain Dyer said on Thursday. “We are committed to enabling our athletes, across all Olympic and Paralympic disciplines, to deliver on the international stage and inspire the people of Ireland and future generations of cyclists.”

The federation’s CEO Matt McKerrow said that the increase in funding would “provide welcome stability in terms of our planning and approach to the coming years.” He stated that it was additionally significant as it “highlights Sport Ireland’s confidence in Cycling Ireland’s effectiveness to deliver for our athletes.”

Separately, almost half a million euro has been allocated to riders under the 2022 International Carding Scheme. A sum of €459,500 was allocated to 19 named riders, with 8 of these riders competing in UCI track events and 11 of them international Paralympians. The funding supports competitors in relation to training and racing, and has a primary purpose of helping to secure medals at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level.

The highest allocation of funding has been given to Paracycling stars Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal, with Sport Ireland announcing that the duo have secured €60,000 for the season. Dunlevy and McCrystal were Ireland’s most successful competitors across all sports at last year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, netting two gold and one silver medal.

They won both the tandem road race and time trial, and were second in the track pursuit.

Two other Paralympians, Ronan Grimes and Gary O’Reilly, were also ranked in the podium category and are set to receive €40,000 each.

Grimes and O’Reilly secured bronze medals in the Paracycling world championships last June, with O’Reilly then taking a bronze medal in the

H5 time trial at the Paralympics. Grimes went close to a medal in the C4 individual pursuit there, netting fourth.

The paracyclists’ campaign was the most successful of the entire Irish campaign at the Games. Of the seven medals taken by Irish Paralympians across all disciplines in Tokyo, four of those were secured by the paracyclists.

A total of seven other riders from this area of the sport secured carding funding. Martin Gordon and Eoin Mullen will receive €37,500 between them, while Damien Vereker and Marcin Mizgajski have been awarded €27,000. Richael Timothy, Declan Slevin and Chris Burns will receive €18,000 each.

The remainder of Cycling Ireland’s carding funding is made up of non-paralympic track cyclists. Five riders have been given World Class designation and, with it, grants of €25,000 each. These are Mia Griffin, Alice Sharpe, Kelly Murphy, Emily Kay and Lara Gillespie, who have impressed in the team pursuit and other events.

Orla Walsh and Shannon McCurley will get €18,000 each. €40,000 has been allocated to the men’s Madison squad, with JB Murphy the only one named thus far. Other riders are to be identified as part of that panel and will share the funding.

2022 International Carding Scheme:

Cycling Ireland:

Mia Griffin - World Class €25,000

Alice Sharpe - World Class €25,000

Kelly Murphy - World Class €25,000

Emily Kay - World Class €25,000

Lara Gillespie - World Class €25,000

Orla Walsh - International €18,000

Shannon McCurley - International €18,000 Men Madison Squad: JB Murphy and TBC others €40,000

Cycling Ireland (paracycling):

Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal - Podium €60,000 Ronan Grimes - Podium €40,000 Gary O’Reilly - Podium €40,000 Martin Gordon and Eoin Mullen - World Class €37,500 Damien Vereker and Marcin Mizgajski - International €27,000 Richael Timothy - International €18,000 Declan Slevin - International €18,000 Chris Burns - International €18,000