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National Teams Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM

By Shane Stokes
23 Sep 2005,

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Padraig Marrey
Cycling Ireland Head of Coaching Padraig Marrey is the latest person to stand down from working with the federation, continuing what has been a steady drain of talent from the governing body over the past couple of years. While there have been various different reasons for the resignations, the loss of such people represents an undeniable disruption to CI and results in a lack of stability within the organisation. spoke to Marrey and asked him how it came about that he was leaving.

“The biggest thing is that they couldn’t agree my brief and my contract,” he answered. “I was head of coaching in CI. The problem was that there was no brief with that job, no real, official Cycling Ireland brief. I was asked to draw one up, which I did and handed in, as well as asking for proper contract arrangements. They came back to me then and said that they couldn’t agree my brief at this time, that I would have to continue working off the old brief, which was the youth development officer’s role. I wasn’t willing to continue down that road.”

Marrey said that he needs to get some stability in whatever work he is doing. “I have been on a career break with An Post since 2000. I spent one year of that in Australia and then the next four working with Cycling Ireland. So it is time to make a decision about what I want to do. The post job is pretty decent, it wouldn’t be the type of job you would drop that easily. So now it looks like I am heading back there.”

Marrey a member of the Western Lakes club
When asked what direction he wanted to take things had he been able to stay on with CI, Marrey said that he had a clear plan already laid out. “I had given in a brief to Cycling Ireland saying where I wanted to go. When we were in Aigle, part of the course was coming up with a project. The one I took on was the structuring of a federation towards coaching for up to eight years. It was a 72 page document that I drew up for the UCI in consultation with the UCI and Charlie Walsh, who was the Australian head coach for 20-odd years. I brought back to Cycling Ireland over a year ago and part of what we wanted to develop was based on that document. I got no real feedback, though. I assume the board is very fixed on short term goals, but really and truly, if you want champions coming through on a continuous basis, you have to really look at long-term. I don't think they are looking at that at the moment.” asked Marrey what he thought CI should be doing. “I think the biggest thing to be looked out is that that board is selected by the members who are selected by the clubs. I think as a federation we need to know where we want to go and how we want to go about doing things. That is the biggest thing I want to get across. This year we have lost people hand over fist and if we continue to do that, we will have no continuity. What happens then is that every three or four years people come in and re-invent the wheel every single time, which really means that we are doing the same thing over and over again, each time slightly differently. That in turn means that we are falling behind all the time, dropping light years behind every other cycling federation.

“I think the problem is a lack of money and a lack of direction. Money is only one issue, if you haven't got direction you're wasting your time doing anything. You need direction. If the members select people towards a board of Cycling Ireland but they don't know where they want to go, it is very hard for a federation to progress. These people are supposed to be in there to direct the way the NGB should go forward, whether it is dealing with the leisure element, the high-performance basis, mountain biking; they have to look at all these elements and if they don't, they're not going to progress as a federation.”

Marrey figured prominently in many of the top Irish races

Marrey says he will continue to stay involved in cycling, both as an official with the Western Lakes club and also as a coach to riders such as Mark Scanlon and David O’Loughlin. “I am going to stay with the club,” he states. “We have done quite a lot in the last five years and that is going to continue. Overall, cycling has progressed quite a bit in the last four years. Whether it is my involvement or not, membership has never been as high. I will obviously still continue to work at a local level.

“As regards the coaching, I will continue doing that with individual riders. Obviously it will be ideal to get more guys of the likes of Scanlon and O'Loughlin, keep getting guys on to that level. But whether you do that as a volunteer or not is the question - I don't think it can be done.”

Marrey feels that CI is at a turning point, especially as so many people have left. “Where they actually want to bring the direction of the federation is crucial,” he states. “I know the strategy document has been put together, but it is never actually been unveiled to the actual members. The members need to make a decision about where the Federation is going.”


Cycling Ireland officials Miceal Concannon and Tamara O'Driscoll will comment later on this article. The following is a press release which had been issued on Tuesday by CI.


Cycling Ireland, the governing body for cycling in Ireland, have paid tribute to two full-time officials who are leaving the sport after contributing handsomely to its growth in recent years.

Padraig Marrey, who has served in the roles of Youth Development Officer and Coaching Officer, has spent four years promoting the sport all over Ireland. “Padraig has been a major reason why cycling in Ireland continues to grow in popularity, and he has also contributed to the upsurge in the numbers of Irish riders now competing at a very high level on the world stage,” said Miceal Concannon, President of Cycling Ireland.

“Padraig worked tirelessly in the coaching area, and he brought professionalism and knowledge to the task. His work in building up our numbers of coaches will stand to the sport for many years to come.

“His work was spread across all disciplines covered by Cycling Ireland, and we greatly regret that we are losing a man of his calibre and enthusiasm. We wish him every success in the future and know that he will continue to be an advocate for cycling in Ireland.”

Mr Concannon has also paid tribute to John Bann-Lavery, who leaves his position as Development Officer (Ulster) to take up a position as PR, Communications and Marketing Officers for Sports Services and Facilities at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

“We have an outstanding network of youth cycling volunteers in Cycling Ulster, and John worked closely with these people and clubs to ensure an exciting future for cycling in the province. His enthusiasm was boundless and his energy was infectious – as reflected in the continued success of cycling in the province,” said Mr Concannon.

“While we are sad to lose John, we are very pleased for him on a personal level that he has gained such a prestigious position in the University of Ulster. His legacy will live on in cycling, and, like Padraig, he will continue to have a major input into cycling.

“Both men are passionate about the sport and their records speak for themselves.”

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