Fourth place finish for Irish Show Jumping team at French Nations Cup in La Baule

  • 17 May 2019, 17:25

The Irish Show Jumping team have finished fourth in today’s (Friday) Longines FEI Nations Cup at La Baule in France, which was the first opportunity of the season to score points in Europe’s top division.

A close contest saw Ireland, sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange, finish five faults behind the winners Switzerland, who took the top prize on a four fault score. Belgium finished as runners-up on five faults, while France took third place on the podium in front of their home fans on eight faults  – just ahead of the Irish on nine faults. Brazil, who had won at La Baule in 2018 finished fifth, with Germany sixth, Britain seventh and Canada eighth.

Ireland were in third place at the halfway stage. Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and Indra Van De Oude Heihoef, owned by The Blue Buckle Group, left all the poles standing, picking up one time fault as the very first combination to enter the arena. Limerick’s Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC, lowered a single pole to finish with 4 faults, before Offaly’s Darragh Kenny with the Ann Thompson-owned Balou Du Reventon, gave Ireland a real boost with a perfect clear round when third to go. Ireland’s anchor rider, Cian O’Connor finished with one fence down with Irenice Horta (owned by Ronnoco Jump Ltd), to leave Ireland on five faults after the opening round.

Sweetnam got Ireland off to a great start in round two with a foot-perfect clear round. O’Shea then repeated his four fault score from round one and Ireland lost touch with the leaders when Kenny finished with eight faults second time out. An impressive clear from O’Connor as last to go for Ireland ensured Rodrigo Pessoa’s team would take fourth place at the finish.

Overall, Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa was satisfied with the result and is looking forward to seeing several new combinations competing for Ireland over the coming weeks:

“It was not a bad result, we didn’t make many mistakes but were just not good enough to win in the end. We learned a lot. Cian’s mare (Irenice Horta), this was the first time that we had her at this height and it was good to see that we now have an extra horse capable at this level. Shane’s mare (Indra) didn’t knock any fences and we can’t blame them for the time fault, it is always tough as first to go. Paul had four and four – normally we could expect that horse (Machu Picchu) to give us at least one clear round. Darragh had a very good first round and the horse (Balou) came back in the second round and was not as brilliant. We have a few weeks now before our next [points-scoring] event so we will keep testing new combinations and move forward,” Pessoa said.

The result gives Ireland 70 league points on their first outing in Europe Division 1 ahead of their next opportunity to score Nations Cup points at Sopot in Poland on Sunday June 16th.

The Irish Show Jumping team is sponsored by Devenish and The Underwriting Exchange
Equiline – Official athlete clothing supplier of Team Ireland Equestrian

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