Ireland dominant at FEI Youth European Show Jumping Championships
- 13 July 2023, 18:27
There are only so many superlatives we can continue to use when it comes to James Kernan’s GAIN Equine Nutrition Irish Youth Show Jumping Teams as they continue to dazzle on the European stage.
On Day Three of the FEI European Youth Show Jumping European Championships Kernan’s Juniors and Young Riders dominated in Gorla Minore, Italy.
As teams, they were both perfect, not adding a point to either tally to sit on top of their leaderboards all alone after some incredible jumping performances.
First up it was the turn of the Young Riders, who came into the day on a score of 2.5 and with a number of nations breathing down their necks. Niamh McEvoy and Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) set the tone early, however, jumping clear in a time of 71.60 seconds.
Next up was Rhys Williams and Playboy JT Z, with another clear round never in doubt with the combination stopping the clock in a time of 73.50 seconds before Seamus Hughes Kennedy did what he seems to always do and jumped imperiously on board ESI Rocky (ISH) in a time of 73.77 seconds.
That meant the pressure was off Max Wachman and Quintini, who unluckily dropped a pole late in the round when looking in complete control. It had no impact on the scores, however, with Ireland finishing the day on 2.5, comfortably clear of Great Britain in second on 10.41 with Belgium in third on a score of 11.09.
From an individual standpoint, today’s scores mean Ireland are also prominent at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final, with Williams leading McEvoy in second, with Hughes Kennedy in fifth heading into the weekend’s final.
Kernan, who has expertly managed his teams – and Irish expectations – throughout the week, couldn’t help but heap praise on his charges.
“What a day,” the former Olympian said. “We’ve spoken throughout about focus and I know people are getting excited now but these teams are just so professional. To do what they did out there today under the pressure of leading was just incredible.
“To have three teams leading in Nations Cups at a European Championships at this point is unheard of for Ireland but, again, we need to remain focused on what’s in front of us and put in one big round each and hopefully that will bring home what we came for.
“It was magnificent, though. Niamh set the tone and Rhys followed her with yet another exceptional performance – and Seamus too. In the end we didn’t need Max to go clear and he was actually very unlucky and I’ve the utmost confidence in him in the final.”
Perhaps buoyed by their older counterparts and not to be outdone, the Junior Team, who entered the day on a score of 3.16, also added zero points to their tally and sit alone at the top of the pile with Germany in second on 5.87 and The Netherlands on 9.12.
First up for Ireland was Eoin Brennan and Eskola M, who was clear in 76.63 seconds before James Brennan and MHS I’m The One (ISH) did the same in a lightning quick 74.67 seconds. Tom Wachman and the outstanding mare Cathalina S were also foot perfect in a time of 79.37 seconds.
Last into the ring for Ireland was Coen Williams, winner of the speed class yesterday, and he was also extremely fast, going clear in 75.35 seconds on board Conthanja.
Individually, it means Williams remains in first place, ahead of Portugal’s Madalena Eloy and Finland’s Jone Illi.
Sunday could be a historic day for Ireland and the Williams family, with both on the cusp of gold medals and Kernan told of his delight for the brothers.
“They are both exceptional riders and fantastic young men. They know what they have to do now and fingers crossed they can do it,” Kernan added.
“We won’t be counting our chickens but every single rider was brilliant today and they’ve put themselves into position. It’s where we wanted to be and there’s still lots of jumping ahead of us and we’re hopeful and focused on medals.”
MHS Im The One (ISH) – 2014 gelding by Lancelot (KWPN) out of Cavalier Kells Lady (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOLST). Breeder: Thomas Brennan. Owner: Sinead Byrne. Rider: James Brennan (IRL).
ESI Rocky (ISH) – 2015 gelding by Stakkato Gold (HANN) out of Clonaslea (BWP) by For Pleasure (HANN). Breeder: Ennisnag Stud. Owner: Clare Hughes. Rider: Seamus Hughes Kennedy.
Templepatrick Welcome Limmerick (ISH) – 2010 mare by Limmerick (HOLST) out of Go Luckey (ISH) by Lux Z (HANN). Breeder: Dorothea Wilson. Owner: Robin Bingham. Rider: Niamh McEvoy (IRL).
Keep an eye out for updates on HSI’s social media channels and website for updates, with the action streaming live on or Facebook page.