International Carding Scheme Investment Announced for 2014

February 14, 2014

International Carding Scheme Investment Announced for 2014

Total investment of 1.6 million in direct athlete support is allocated

February 14, 2014.

The Irish Sports Council today announced details of the 2014 International Carding Scheme. €1.6m will be invested in 85 athletes from 15 sports providing direct financial assistance to Ireland’s most talented players and athletes.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said: “This substantial  investment will support out most talented sports people who represented Ireland so well in 2012 and 2013. In addition to the direct investment, athletes will have access to science, medicine and lifestyle support services at the Institute of Sport”.

Today’s investment includes 18 athletes (9 Olympic and 9 Paralympic) at the top funding (Podium) of €40,000 and aims to ensure that athletes can prepare effectively for major championships. The Carding Scheme supports those athletes that can compete at the highest level including European, World, Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council commented: ”I want to commend every athlete who has qualified for funding in 2014, they have earned the support through exceptional performances. The Council remains committed to direct athlete support as an important element of the overall investment strategy for high performance sport”.


The Review of the International Carding Scheme was published in 2012 and last year saw some substantial changes. For 2014 the main change is that Athletics Ireland, Swim Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association took over the management of the scheme for their athletes. The main benefit will be to provide a more integrated high performance system. Over time it is anticipated that the Carding Scheme will continue to evolve under the direction of the Performance Director of each sport.

Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council John Treacy also explained : “The Irish Sports Council is very pleased with the process of transition of the Carding Scheme into the three sports. It opens the way for amore sports to take over the Carding in 2015.”

Full implementation of the recommendations of the 2012 Review will take place on a phased basis with the Council maintaining a strong oversight function.

Notes for the Editor

About the Scheme

The International Carding Scheme has, since its introduction in 1998, been a central part of the high performance system in Ireland. A Review of the Scheme was published in 2012 and serves as a roadmap for its development. It is based on a number of key principles including:

  • Direct funding to athletes will be retained
  • The sports will be directly responsible for management of the scheme
  • It will be more fully integrated with other support & funding programmes
  • The overall budget line will be retained but individual payments will be more flexible
  • Investment will be based on performance and accountability

The Review includes a wide range of recommendations that will be applied across a variety of sports. Full implementation will take some time and will take place on a phased basis. The final outcome will be a very different scheme to the one currently in operation.

The management and administration of the scheme is being transferred to high performance sports. The Council will maintain a strong oversight function.  The new system will lead to:

  • A more integrated HP system
  • More focus on system objectives and better return on investment
  • Greater responsibility within the NGB


“Fit for Purpose” Criteria 

The International Carding Scheme Review recommended that, on a phased basis, targeted NGBs who meet ‘fit for purpose’ criteria will take responsibility for management of the scheme. The criteria cover six areas and reflect the “NGB Readiness” factors set out in the Review.


  1. 1.                   Governance structures of the sport
  2. 2.                   Good financial management in the sport
  3. 3.                   Commitment to Anti-Doping
  4. 4.                   Functioning High Performance Plan
  5. 5.                   Presence of a HP Director
  6. 6.                   Administrative capacity to manage the scheme


For 2014 Athletics Ireland, Swim Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association took over the management of the Carding Scheme.

Athlete Profiles


Ellen Keane


Swimmer Ellen, from Clontarf in Dublin, is a double Paralympian (Beijing 2008 & London 2012) who is targeting her third Games in Rio 2016. Ellen was Ireland’s youngest ever Paralympian debuting in Beijing at just thirteen years of age. She has been part of Paralympic Ireland’s performance programme for seven years now, making two Paralympic finals in London (7th in the  100m Butterfly and 7th in the 200m Individual Medley).She reached the podium for the first time ever at last summer’s IPC World Championships in Montreal winning two bronze medals (SB8 100m BS, S9 100m BF).  Having completed a two year swim scholarship in Kelly College in the UK where she also obtained her A levels, Ellen has returned home to swim under Paralympic Ireland’s Performance Dave Malone based in the National Aquatic Centre. She is currently studying for her Leaving Cert this summer and upon completion will shift focus to the IPC European Swimming Championships in Eindhoven in August. The qualification period for the RIO 2016 Paralympic Games open in January 2015. An average week of training for Ellen would total twenty hours involving generally six pools sessions and a number of strength and conditioning sessions in the gym at the National Aquatic Centre also. In 2014 Ellen has been awarded €40,000 Podium funding from the National Carding Scheme.


Irish Institute of Sport Supports

Ellen utilises the physiotherapy service offered by Institute as required which is obviously extremely convenient to her training base in the National Aquatic Centre. She also works closely with the lead nutritionist there on her programme. Her strength and conditioning programme is delivered by an Institute Accredited Strength and Conditioning coach. In addition she is working with the Lifestyle Performance Manager who links with her school the Institute of Education, and has assisted with CAO preparation and will liaise with third level on her behalf when appropriate. A key lifestyle piece for Ellen is assistance with time and lifestyle management to give her the skills to facilitate trainings, competition, rest, school and study effectively.


Paralympics Ireland Supports – Training Camps, Competition & Coaching

Ellen’s swim programme is under the day to day management of Paralympic Ireland’s Performance Manager; Dave Malone and National Paralympic Swimming Coach Jim Laverty. Throughout the training cycle and at major competitions Ellen benefits from ongoing performance analysis. She also undergoes a physiological testing programme monthly at senior training camps and at key international competitions. This involves elements such as skinfold measurements, individual fitness testing, and physiological profiling to provide her coaching team with feedback to inform, adjust and guide her training programme on a continual basis. As a member of Paralympics Ireland’s 2014 panel Ellen benefits from additional Games preparation multisport training camps, and a comprehensive International competition programme. Monthly senior training camps at the National Aquatic Centre complement the individual training programmes and a warm weather camp is planned for July ahead of the European Championships.



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