George Mernagh Memorial Fund Bursary Winners 2015

  • 28 May 2015, 22:55

ON Wednesday evening, May 27th at the Welcome Reception for the Tattersalls International Horse Trials & Country, the three recipients of the 2015 George Mernagh Memorial Fund Bursaries were announced and presented by Event Director Jean Mitchell and Tattersalls Ireland Managing Director Roger Casey.

The winners will each receive a bursary worth €5,000.  The charitable company, The George Mernagh Memorial Fund Limited, was established in memory of the late George Mernagh who had a lifetime interest in equestrian sports and who was   committed to developing these at Tattersalls Ireland. The bursary objectives are:


  • To support youth participation in Irish equestrian sports;


  • To foster national and international sporting competition in Ireland via the provision of equestrian competition and the facilities that support this competition;


  • To contribute to the education and development of all participants involved in any aspect of Irish equestrianism to the highest possible standards.


The 2015 winners are:


Aaron McCusker


Aaron is 36 years of age from Lurgan, Co. Armagh, with a degree in Equine Business Management.


He competed nationally for over 20 years, and has recently upgraded to a Senior National Course Designer with “Show Jumping Ireland” and he is also a Level 2 Horse Sport Ireland Coach, and passionate about his involvement with many equestrian sports.


As well as course designing and building for many SJI Registered Shows, throughout Ireland, Aaron is the current Jumping Course Designer for the Eventing Ireland [Northern Region] National Horse Trials.


He is very keen to gain more experience and see different concepts used outside Ireland, which he could introduce and utilise for the benefits of both Show Jumpers and Eventers.

Aaron aspires to become an FEI International Jumping Course Designer, and the bursary will enable him to travel and attend International shows and events – to assist and learn from top quality Officials. It would also help him to attend FEI seminars and courses to gain the necessary promotion.


He also aims to pass on his knowledge and experience by running ‘course design’ clinics to educate competitors at all levels, on walking courses, understanding distances, etc.


Cathal Daniels


Cathal Daniels is from Loughrea, Co. Galway, is now 18 years old, and is now working full time with horses, in Eventing.


In 2012, Cathal was a member of the Irish Pony Eventing Team, winning both Team and Individual Gold Medals at the Pony European Eventing Championships at Fontainebleau, in France – and was presented with the Irish Field Award for “Young Eventer of the Year”.


In 2013 he moved from Pony to Junior level, winning a Team Gold Medal at the Junior European Championships at Haras d’Jardy, in France.


In 2014, Cathal won another Team Gold Medal – and an Individual Silver Medal – at the FEI Junior European Championships at Bishop Burton, in England, and he received the Captain David Foster Memorial Trophy for the highest placed Irish Junior Rider at Tattersalls, as well as the Irish Field Award for the Young Event Rider of the Year.

Cathal will use his Bursary to have dressage training with Horse Sport Ireland Coach Heike Holstein – and Show Jumping training with Horse Sport Ireland Coach Ian Fearon – to help with his move into the Senior ranks of Eventing at both National and International competitions.


Rachel Dowley


Rachel is 22 years of age, from Carrick-on–Suir, in Co. Kilkenny, is involved with the “Under 25 Group” of Dressage Ireland and is in the 3rd of 4 years studying English and Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin.


In 2008 and 2009 she was on the HSI Pony High Performance Eventing squad, and from 2010 she has won numerous Dressage Championships in Ireland, and at Hickstead, at various levels.


She has been a working pupil with Anne Marie Dunphy, Ellen Bontje, Conrad Schumacher and Richard Davison and a member of the IURCA Student Riders Nations Cup squad in 2014 and 2015.


Just recently she won the hotly contested “Advanced Medium Championship” at the Dressage Ireland Winter Finals with her talented horse – “CADENS”.

Rachel has already got the necessary qualifications for teaching, HGV licence for transporting horses, Child Protection, First Aid, etc.


As well as riding, Rachel is very involved with coaching and intends to use part of her bursary to help with the education and development of other Irish riders.

She intends to compete in the UK at the BYRDS Home International, later this year – and will offer space in her lorry to other young riders, so that they can also benefit from International participation.

Cathal Daniels

Cathal Daniels