Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy loses direct funding of €40,000

Rio silver medal winner will now be funded through Irish Sailing Association

A year and a half before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Rio Olympic silver-medal winning sailor  Annalise Murphy has lost her direct funding from Sport Ireland, worth €40,000 a year.

Murphy will continue to be supported via the Irish Sailing Association (ISA), only given her near three-year absence from competitive Olympic-class sailing, she was no longer eligible for the 'podium' grant under the international carding scheme.

Sport Ireland has announced €1.93 million in direct elite athlete investment for 2019, part of an overall €31.8 million core funding package, with 17 athletes, from eight sports, receiving that maximum amount of €40,000.

Last year that number was 12, including Murphy, who has received the amount for the last six years, after finishing fourth in the single-handed Laser class in London 2012, before stepping up for the silver medal in Rio 2016.

Paul McDermott, director of high performance at Sport Ireland, explained Murphy's absence from the carding scheme.

"We acknowledge Annalise is absolutely one of our top athletes," he said, "but she hasn't competed in two and half years and  is now in the new 49er FX boat, with a new partner, who unfortunately sustained an injury.

"In fairness, 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.

"It simply wasn't within the means of the scheme, so we've made that arrangement via sailing instead. But again we have great faith in Annalise, she's a world-class athlete, and she's committed to the boat for Tokyo, and that's all very positive.

The ISA has accepted the decision, despite making a case for Murphy's podium funding for 2019.  

Since moving away from competitive Olympic-class sailing, Murphy competed last year  in the Volvo Ocean Race and has now moved into the 49erFX skiff, a two-person class, alongside Katie Tingle, and is currently training in Portugal with a view to qualifying for Tokyo 2020.

ISA high performance director James O'Callaghan said the decision was expected.

"No complaints from us," said O'Callaghan. "The carding system is very black and white, and if you don't have a performance, you don't get funded.

"Having said that, Annalise is one of our key athletes, she's in a new class, and we are able to support her and Katie through our own high-performance budget.

"This has been agreed with her. The important thing is that she's full on campaigning for Tokyo, and we're delighted to have her back.

"Sport Ireland in fairness supported her last year, during the Volvo race, so we're happy enough with where we're at, and it's a good marker of Irish sport, that it is results-based system.

"You look at the world titles won in rowing, for example, and that's where the podium funding should be."

In that respect, rowers Paul and Gary O'Donovan and Sanita Puspure have received €40,000 podium grants, as has 400m hurdler Thomas Barr. They all made the international medal podium in 2018.

Six more of the podium grants of €40,000 go to Paralympics athletes  Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop, Niamh McCarthy, Noelle Lenihan and Orla Barry, plus swimmer Ellen Keane.

Joe Ward and newly crowned world champion Kellie Harrington are the two boxers who get the maximum amount. European gymnastics champion Rhys McClenaghan also steps up to podium grant, as does Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe in the modern pentathlon.

The only other sport to receive the maximum podium grant is Paralympics cycling, with Katie George Dunleavy and her pilot Eve McCrystal getting a combined grant of €60,000.

This also being pre-Olympic year, there's also an additional emphasis on those five-ringed preparations, the Olympic Federation of Ireland (formerly the Olympic Council of Ireland) getting an increase in funding, from €300,000 last year, to €420,000.

Who got what in the 2019 International Carding Scheme:

Paralympics Ireland* €364,000

Podium (€40,000)

Jason Smyth
Michael McKillop
Niamh McCarthy
Noelle Lenihan
Orla Barry


World Class (€20,000)
Greta Streimikyte

International (€12,000)
Patrick Monahan
Orla Comerford
Jordan Lee
David Leavy

Podium (€40,000)

Ellen Keane

World Class (€20,000)
Nicole Turner

International (€12,000)
Barry McClements
Patrick Flanagan
Jonathan McGrath

Cycling Ireland* €268,000

Podium (€60,000)
Katie George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal (Para)

World Class (€30,000)
Martin Gordon & Eamonn Byrne (Para)

World Class (€20,000)
Felix English
Lydia Boylan
Lydia Gurley
Robyn Stewart
Mark Downey

International (€18,000)
Peter Ryan & Seán Hahessy (Para)

International (€12,000)
Marc Potts
Shannon McCurley
Kelly Murphy
Ronan Grimes (Para)
Damien Vereker (Para)

Athletics Ireland* €192,000

Podium (€40,000)
Thomas Barr

World Class (€20,000)
Ciara Mageean
Fionnula McCormack
Leon Reid

World Class (€16,000
Brian Gregan
Mark English

International (€12,000)
Alex Wright
Brendan Boyce
Phil Healy
Marcus Lawler
Women's 4 x 100m Relay

Irish Athletic Boxing Association €188,000

Podium (€40,000)
Joe Ward
Kellie Harrington

World Class (€20,000)
Brendan Irvine
Kurt Walker
Michaela Walsh

International (€12,000)
Michael Nevin
Gráinne Walsh
Kieran Molloy
Kiril Afanasev

Rowing Ireland €290,000

Podium (€40,000)
Paul O'Donovan
Gary O'Donovan
Sanita Puspure

World Class (€20,000)
Aifric Keogh
Ronan Byrne
Philip Doyle
Emily Hegarty
Aileen Crowley
Monika Dukarska

Targeted Athletes Pool Funding €50,000

Swim Ireland* €144,000

World Class (€20,000)
Oliver Dingley
Shane Ryan
Clare Cryan

International (€12,000)
Mona McSharry
Tanya Watson
Conor Ferguson
Jordan Sloan
Brendan Hyland
Darragh Greene
Niamh Coyne

Pentathlon Ireland €104,000

Podium (€40,000)
Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe
Natalya Coyle

International (€12,000)
Sive Brassill
Eilidh Prise

Irish Sailing Association* €84,000

International (€12,000)
Ryan Seaton
Finn Lynch
Aoife Hopkins
Seafra Guilfoyle
Liam Glynn
Robert Dickson
Seán Waddilove

Badminton Ireland* €56,000

World Class (€20,000)
Niall McVeigh

International (€12,000)
Chloe Magee
Sam Magee
Nhat Nguyen

Irish Clay Target Shooting Association €20,000

World Class (€20,000)
Aoife Gormally

Irish Taekwondo Union €20,000

World Class (€20,000)
Jack Woolley

Table Tennis Ireland (Para) €12,000

International Class (€12,000)
Colin Judge

Total Carding €1,934,000

*Athletics Ireland, Badminton Ireland, Cycling Ireland, Irish Sailing Association, Paralympics Ireland, Rowing Ireland, Swim Ireland and Triathlon Ireland are Transition Sports, which manage and administer the International Carding Scheme for their athletes.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics

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