Well done Ireland

CLEAR rounds from Bertram Allen, Greg Broderick and Cian O’Connor ensured a third place for Ireland at the French Nations’ Cup in La Baule today (Friday).

The Irish foursome, drawn first to jump of eight teams in the top level competition, saw Cian O’Connor and his new mount Good Luck draw the shortest straw as the first rider of 32 to tackle the big five-star track. Meath-based O’Connor came home with eight jumping faults and one time fault, but in the second round used the experience to deliver a classic clear round on the nine year-old gelding.

US-based Darragh Kenny with Sans Soucis Z had just one fence down in both rounds, while Greg Broderick and the Irish Sport Horse MHS Going Global faulted once in the first round, but, like O’Connor, added zero penalties in the second.

Nineteen year-old Bertram Allen, who already had two La Baule solo victories under his belt by the time today’s team competition started, displayed his usual élan with the grey mare Molly Malone to produce an easy first clear round, but uncharacteristically dropped two fences in the final round, which prevented Ireland, now on 12 faults, from overtaking a nine-faulting French team.

A close finish at the top end of the leaderboard saw Great Britain winning on seven penalties, France second with nine, and Ireland third on 12 faults.

Irish show jumping team manager Robert Splaine said afterwards: “”This was a very good performance from the Irish. The competition was world class and as the scoreline suggests, was tough in all regards. The fences were big and the time allowed was tight.

“Cian O’Connor our Olympic Bronze medallist who is a seasoned Nations’ Cup campaigner was riding Good Luck, a horse that was undertaking his first Nations’ Cup. Darragh Kenny’s mount Sans Soucis Z were having their first Nations’ Cup at this level and Greg Broderick’s mount only their second appearance in this league after delivering an excellent performance first time out in Lummen two weeks ago.

Bertram Allen, who is riding the crest of a wave at the moment gave us a magnificent clear in the first round and this combined with second round clears from Cian and Greg and a solid performance from Darragh contributed to our result.

“In the overall scheme of things we learned a huge amount and are firmly on the road to developing a top squad. Our three new combinations improved significantly in the second round.

“Nations’ Cup jumping at this top level is the best preparation for all our combinations to reach our main goal for 2015 which is Olympic Team qualification. There is no other competition that exerts as much pressure and responsibility, and only strong riders who are technically capable can rise to this. To put it simply it separates the men from the boys.

“Once again, I’d like to thank the owners, without whom this level of performance would not be possible.

Ireland is now on 125 points in the Furusiyya top league after completion of two of its four points-scoring Nations’ Cups, which places it in third behind Belgium on 150, and France on 160.


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