Podium finish for Ireland after dramatic Swedish Nations Cup in Falsterbo
- 14 July 2017, 18:07
Rodrigo Pessoa’s Irish Show Jumping team, sponsored by The Underwriting Exchange and Devenish, have taken third place on the podium in today’s (Friday) five-star Nations Cup at Falsterbo in Sweden, after a dramatic jump-off against Germany and The Netherlands.
The three nations finished two rounds of jumping on just four faults, with The Netherlands eventually coming out on top in a jump-off against the clock, ahead of Germany in second and Ireland in third. Italy finished fourth ahead of USA and Sweden who shared fifth place. Switzerland came home in seventh with Norway in eighth.
Ireland were in a tie for the lead with The Netherlands at the halfway stage. Clear rounds from Cork’s Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z), Meath-based Cian O’Connor (Callisto) and Co Louth’s Mark McAuley (Miebello), left Ireland on a zero score – without the need for Ireland’s last rider Denis Lynch to jump.
Sweetnam and Chaqui Z completed a brilliant double clear round when they kept all the fences standing again second time out. O’Connor with Callisto and Mark McAuley riding Miebello, both then lowered a fence each. Tipperary’s Lynch and All Star needed to jump clear if Ireland were to force a jump-off, and they did just that to set up a thrilling finale.
Germany’s Markus Beerbaum was first to go against the clock with Comanche and posted a clear in 47.80. Rodrigo Pessoa selected Lynch and All Star for the decider and they were faster than their German rivals (46.65) but lowered one fence when chasing the target. Dutchman Jur Vrieling produced the winning round when last of the trio to jump with VDL Glasgow v. Merelsnest, crossing the finish line clear in 46.35.
Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa was full of praise for his team after their podium finish:
“I am really satisfied with our performance today. We were right up there in contention up to the end with good rounds from all our riders. It was really good to have three clears on the board in the first round meaning Denis [Lynch] did not have to jump. It was the correct decision to pick Denis for the jump-off. He jumped a very good round when last to go in the second round and the jump-off course really suited his horse with such a long stride. His horse got a bit distracted coming to the fence he had down but he had to go for it. The league table is quite close and we are in touch with many of the teams with some of our top horses still to come back. It is always important to get good results. We would of course have preferred to win but second or third is good. It is all very positive, we were able to match some very strong teams here today.”
The result leaves Ireland in joint sixth place on the Nations Cup league table and with two points scoring rounds still remaining for Ireland, they could climb the table further with good results over the closing rounds. Next up for Ireland will be the British round of the series at Hickstead on July 28th, followed by Ireland’s home Nations Cup at the RDS in Dublin on August 11th where teams will compete for the Aga Khan trophy.
Falsterbo Nations Cup – Irish team scores
Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z – Owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC & Shane Sweetnam 0/0
Cian O’Connor with Callisto – Owned by Ian O’ Grady, Philippe de Balander & Ronnoco Jump Ltd 0/4
Mark McAuley with Miebello – Owned by Eva Lundin 0/4
Denis Lynch with All Star 5 – Owned by Thomas Straumann & Denis Lynch DNS/0
Team total – 4 faults