altMarch 13 - Adrian Cassidy, the performance development coach of British rowing, is to leave to help guide Ireland's preparations for the 2012 London Olympics, it was announced today.


Cassidy, 37, has been recruited as lead coach by Martin McElroy, the performance director of Irish Rowing who guided Britain's eight to the Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000.


Cassidy was heavily involved in the early development of many of Britain's medallists in Beijing last year, particularly the women's quadruple sculls and double who won silver and bronze respectively.


Cassidy will be aiming to help Ireland win its first-ever Olympic rowing medal in London.


Ireland qualified two crews for the Games in Beijing, in the fours and lightweight fours.


Both boats finished 10th.


Cassidy said: "I want to create a sustainable system where Ireland wins medals regularly."


But he will have to achieve his goal on less money from the Irish Sports Council than the team had to prepare for Beijing.


Last year rowing received €720,000 (£664,873), this year it falls to €450,000 (£415,546).


The money to help athletes with their lifestyle costs has fallen from €240,000 (£221,624) to €139,000 (£128,357)


John Treacy, the chief executive of the ISC, said: “Rowing will be in a rebuilding mode now.


“If you look at the funding that went to the carded [funded] athletes, particularly, the top has been reduced fairly substantially because of retirement.


"But I think you need to look at what’s invested in the development side and the junior side, and there’s a substantial number of athletes covered in that particular area."


Twenty-three juniors and two development athletes will be funded, but only five senior athletes will get “international” carding, which entitles them to €12,000 (£11,081) each.